Friday, 5 March 2010

Write Away

So how was everyone's week? Did you get a lot of writing done? Or even just a little?

A little fact about me: I'm an outliner. I think the industry term is planner (vs pantser). I have stories played out in my head from beginning to end, so I know how they'll end. I don't know every detail, and sometimes my characters end up surprising me, but I know basically how the plot unfolds. I usually do a rough outline of the chapters and then work on the ones I feel like working on first (but usually I write the first two or three before I skip around).

But some days, I just don't have time to write, or I'm so exhausted from "real life" that I can't find it in me to dive into this other world right away. So forget the diving. How about just dipping my toes in? They say to write, even if it's garbage. So I try to do this. Even if it's just to add a few lines of dialogue to a chapter, a sentence (or hopefully more) to another chapter here and there. Once I do this I usually end up coming up with another this and that to add in. By doing so, I can usually get through my rough writing patches. And then when I feel I can finally dive back into my work, it becomes a game of fill-in-the-blanks, which is a little easier.

I'm not saying this is the best method, but it works for me now and then.

Just thought I'd share.


Heather Babes said...

I am not an outliner. I hate knowing how the story I'm writing is going to end! Once I see the ending in my mind, I usually lose enthusiasm for writing it. I think I'm an oddball tho and most writer's done have that problem from what I've read elsewhere.

Dawn Embers said...

Indeed, go what works for you.

I am both. I outline in my head for the most part. I watch every story and listen to almost every character. However, it is very rare that I do a physical outline. I did several drafts of one pre-nano 2008, the year I won, but when I wrote the novel I didn't so much as glance at the outline.

During this march novel writing event that I'm doing, I did a mini outline of what this part of the book entials. It's on the program omnioutliner, which I've never used before but it does a simple, one line set of bullet points. I'm sure it does more but haven't figured them out.

Harley D. Palmer said...

I don't outline that much and I envy those that can sometimes. However, I did have to break down and do it for this rewrite. I have been trying to rearrange scenes into a different order and it was hard for me to wrap my head around it. So I wrote a little outline (okay, I wrote a few different ones before I discovered the right one) that tells me what order the chapters need to go in now. It has really helped me get past the "Where do I go from here?" thought. Now I just need to get off my butt and do it!

Paulo said...

Hi Dorothy,

Thanks for an interesting post.

I've been thinking about this a lot. I used to avoid outlines because I assumed they kept me overly focused on getting from A to C at the expense of a spark that might occur at B.

Recently I started doing something like what you're describing and writing ahead of where I am in a story as soon as the idea occurs to me. Instead of a separate "outline" document I've been doing this right at the bottom of everything I've written.

Two advantages I've found to doing this are 1) it keeps me from procrastinating about what sentence comes next when I get stuck and 2) I'm writing out fresh, fuller ideas that I might not remember as clearly if they'd ended up a bullet point on an outline.

I just found your blog. What an excellent idea to focus on aspiring writers! I'm looking forward to following it.