Planning Your Writing

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the way that I write and the preparations and planning that I do for a story. I also asked some of my fellow authors on Twitter how they write;

I’ve written two books now, with several others in progress and I realised that I haven’t really done all that much planning of how the stories are going to go.

With The Next Stage I had my corkboard with its map and post-it notes but this was mainly so I could trace the paths that the characters took and the times at which different events occurred around the city. As far as actually planning the route a story is going to take, I do very little.

With TNS I would occasionally write one or two words for what I thought was going to happen, but this wasn’t really a set-in-concrete guide it was merely an idea as to how it could go. When I’m writing I pretty much just type and see where it takes me. I may have a rough idea of the story I want to tell, but unlike some authors I don’t have an ending in mind. I may have a key line – maybe dialogue or a description – that I want to try to write but that’s about it.

I’m now going through my paperback proof draft of Blindsighted and I’m still chopping and changing things. A few weeks ago I decided to change the perspective from third to first-person. I hadn’t planned for this and I thought that it might involve rewriting the entire story but thankfully it wasn’t as much work as I had envisioned. If I had planned the story ahead of time I might have decided to do this sooner as I may have seen that with this type of story the first person perspective would add to the atmosphere.

I’ve not written anything in first-person yet. Most of my WIPs are written where I do a different character for each chapter as I follow them around, whereas Blindsighted is written around one character – an eleven year old boy.

The only reason I can think of for not planning where a story is going to go ahead of time is that I like the whole process of writing and seeing where my typing takes me. It’s almost as if the world is being created in that moment, it’s all new and fresh and anything could happen. Characters appear from nothing and enter the ever changing world.

For other writers this might not be something they do. They may plan out every little detail ahead of time or just plan out the bare-bones of it. The purpose of these blogs is to show how different writers have different methods pertaining to their writing process. What works for one, may not work for others.

This isn’t to say that I’ve never tried to plan. When I first started working on The Next Stage I began with a single sentence and then attempted to figure out what characters were like and what the futuristic Washington D.C. they inhabited was like. I only got a little way into this before I got frustrated and wanted to start writing the story. I told myself that I would write a bit and then go back to planning, but alas, I never did. But this I think worked in my favour as my method led to The Next Stage being received amazingly well by readers despite my slap-dash technique.

This method works for me. I’m sure it will evolve over time and I may start to plan more things. But at the moment this is the way that I write. Part of the fun of writing is finding out your method and what works for you. But reading and hearing about what other writers do might inspire you try something new or adapt the method and tailor it to your writing style.

As I interact more with the writing community I’m learning more and more and although I’m still at the start of my writing career but I like to pass on anything that I’ve learned or how I work to others and hope that they in turn will pass on their knowledge to others.

Well, that’s my ramble for today. I’m going to head back to my editing so I can hopefully release Blindsighted very soon.

Have a good week all.

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