Blogger: Michelle Ule
Filling in for Rachel Kent today.
After two years of work writing a novel, I’ve finally finished and am plotting the next one. I’ve completed most of the research (this is the project interrupted by World War I), but the plot points have changed over the two-year hiatus.
I’ve been looking at my calendar and hoping I’m not going to take another two years to write a novel.
I type fast; but is there a way to use my writing hours better?
Recently, I came upon a blog post that intrigued me by both the concept and title, as a way to save time.
What do you think of the possibilities in this lengthy post by novelist Rachel Aaron?
I haven’t tried this yet, but the article is very interesting and full of wise advice.
Basically, it boils down to plotting like crazy BEFORE you write rather than after. Aaron contends that if you have at least an outline of what you want to accomplish in a scene before you start, you can write much faster than if you’re trying to sort it out while you’re creating.
For “seat of the pants” writers this may seem stifling. They like to find out what is happening in their story while they’re writing it, allowing the characters to dictate action as it unfolds.
There’s nothing wrong for this type of writing style, per se, but you can wander off onto some rabbit trails if you’re following your characters’ leads.
Which means, you may have to go back to earlier passages and rewrite things that don’t fit into where the character ended up.
The opposite end, of course, is the detailed plotter, who has everything figured out before they start and it’s just a matter of writing down the words. Mystery writers, in particular, really have to be detailed plotters for their stories to make sense.
When plotting, I draw a diagram or matrix showing what should happen when. I pay attention to how many chapters I have, the length of the chapters (trying to keep them about the same length to smooth out the rhythm for the reader) and calculate where major plot twists should occur.
Once I start writing, however, I’m open to the characters leading me into different places than my plot for their own purposes.
They often take me up on it.
But I can write much faster if I know what I want to accomplish in a given scene and historically for me, those scenes rarely need to be rewritten.
That can be important, especially if I’m on a deadline.
How about you? How do you plan out your writing projects?
Are you a plotter, seat of the pantser, or a picture framer?
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