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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Of Course I Planned It Like That

Every writer has a slightly different approach to writing. Some storyboard the major scenes, some know exactly what's going to happen from start to finish, some sit down with an idea and write until there's no more to write about. Throw a dart somewhere in that mix and you'll get my method. That is to say, I don't really have one. I always know how the book ends. I always know a couple key scenes that have to happen. But I can't outline it. Every scene has a ripple effect, and my characters often end up in entirely different places (physically and emotionally) than I anticipated. I love writing this way. To me it feels unpredictable and fresh, but the downside is that I inevitably reach a point (and oddly enough, it's usually just one place) where I'm not sure where to go next.

So over the weekend my husband took me backpacking. To those of you who aren't married to crazy people, backpacking is a special form of torture that involves strapping a third of your weight to your back, marching up a mountain, and staying there overnight. (Okay, yes, the lake at the top was pretty and I'm sure when I can move again without flinching I might think it was a fantastic idea.) Sunday morning, we're hiking down mile six of eight and to distract myself from wondering if you can still walk after your legs go numb, I start thinking about The Sequel. Suddenly the rest of the book tumbles through my head. Another couple miles and a creative attempt at writing on a bumpy four-by-four road, and I have The Rest Of It!! scribbled almost legibly on five tiny notepad sheets.

I've never had a plan like this before. Maybe that's what happens as you write more, or maybe that's just what happened for this book and the next will be entirely different. Either way, I'm thrilled to be over the current book's Now What? block so I can focus on turning those five tiny notepad sheets into 45k+ words.

What kind of writer are you? Does it change from project to project?


  1. I'm a storyboard kind of person. I like to plan out each aspect of the book before I write it. It gives me more focus to go from scene to scene. I also have where the characters start and where I want them to end up. I then map out how they got there. From there it's just a process of daydreaming about the conversations until I feel I can write them.

    1. Very cool, I wish I could organize like that. My characters often won't get arcs until draft two, especially since new characters sometimes pop up in the middle of the story to advance the plot. But I wouldn't be able to do it any other way :)

      With your storyboard method, do you know exactly who's going to be in it? Or do unexpected characters still wiggle their way in?

  2. Lucky you. Yes, I'm happy for you and trying not to feel jealous.

    1. haha, this came after a writing drought of sorts... I'm sure divine inspiration will head your way soon!



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