Quote of the Day:
It’s like making a movie: All sorts of accidental things will happen after you’ve set up the cameras. So you get lucky. Something will happen at the edge of the set and perhaps you start to go with that; you get some footage of that. You come into it accidentally. You set the story in motion, and as you’re watching this thing begin, all these opportunities will show up. ~Kurt Vonnegut
For my first novel, I wrote in order (with a few exceptions). I started as close to the beginning as I could and worked forward. For my second novel, I just wrote as the scenes took me. I started somewhere in the middle, wrote forward and backward and sideways. If I got stuck, I moved on to another scene. Then I filled in the holes. It worked really well for me.
My mother thought my writing process was both interesting, funny, and totally confusing. I brought her my notebooks on our recent visit so I could show her how the book started out. She was amazed I could write like that. Yet, I know many authors who skip around.
I also know quite a few that outline their books. This isn’t something I’ve ever been able to do. Even when I try, things turn out differently anyways, so there really isn’t a point to it in my mind. For me at least.
However, my new project (brand spanking new, not much more than an idea right now) is one that, due to the nature of it, I will have to outline. And it’s torture for me. I know there will be some additions that won’t be outlined, but for the most part, I simply HAVE to know what will be going in the book. I need to know what each chapter will contain, in detail, or this project is never going to work.
I don’t want to say that this has taken the enjoyment out of it for me, because it hasn’t. This project is sort of a mix between fiction and non-fiction, so the preliminary research and outlining is necessary, interesting, and fun in it’s own way. But it isn’t the type of free “let-the-muse-take-me-where-it-will” kind of writing I usually immerse myself in. Once I start writing, I hope that part will come, but for now, it feels more like work than fun.
While I think this project will suck me in just as much as any other I’ve done, *sigh* I just don’t like the outlining which I actually find sort of funny. In real life, I’m a list type person. I go shopping, I have a list. We go on a trip, I make a list of what we need to do before we go, what needs to be packed, etc. My non-fiction book, I have my Table of Contents in front of me at all times and check off the chapters as they are completed.
But fiction…that is the one area of my life that ISN’T planned out ahead. I have the idea, of course, the basic storyline, characters, plot twists…but I like to fly by the seat of my pants and let things just happen. So it’s weird to try and enforce a structure where there previously hasn’t been one. I’m sort of interested to see how I handle this ;-D
How about everyone else? How do you write? Do you outline? Just let your fingers fly and see what they come up with? If you write different genres, do you handle them differently?