This is for my series and posts that I began the other day. Last weekend, in fact. My first post around how to generate plot, how to develop ideas was here – Dream that turns into story idea – follow my creation of this story
I was thinking, I should add a couple things as I go. Are you like me, where you think of stuff after that you should’ve said or included? Yeah so that happens a lot. While I was exercising today, I was going, that would be a good plan too. In between those posts, I will jot notes down (hopefully just one blog post) where I add notes, or thoughts on the process itself. Anything I might forget or whatevs. Maybe even questions if anyone asks them, I can address those.
One of the benefits of me not being able to post my blogs around the series right away, is that it gives you time. Time to take the idea and run with it for your own play. Time for you to think about the questions yourself, come up with thoughts, or develop your own idea. That way you’re able to develop it similar to how I may. Many authors allow ideas to percolate for a while, I can typically use an idea, develop it during the week, then set it aside until I need it – when I’m gonna write it. I may come up with other ideas in between there.
So my inability to post about this daily? Will allow you time to play with the blogs. Or an idea you’re developing. Win-win.
Right now the way I work is a hybrid method. You will see me develop the idea and almost completely stop. It’ll be at this halfway point. It’s as if my brain gets tired of it and says, “I want to play with it now!” Which means it will be half plotted, and I then just go write. I won’t have the entire story down bit by bit. I won’t have all the details. I won’t know a lot of it. This is how I work now.
Each book is different. Each story I do differently. Most short stories I think – what if a ghost could be seen, but not heard? And then suddenly I am writing and done. I rarely plot to the point I have a very structured outline. Less for short stories.
I heard Brandon Sanderson explain in a writing lecture that some are Gardeners and some are Architects. Gardeners like to just go in and discover everything. Architects need it all structured and worked out. I believe he said it was George R.R. Martin who stated those, but don’t quote me. I’ll link the writing lecture below so you can listen to it.
Others call it pantsing/plotting. Others call it writing into the dark. Either way, I fall mostly in the middle, or head toward having no freaking clue outside of something inside my head that pops up and away I go. There is no right or wrong. Only what works for you at the time. As you grow it will change. When you begin it will be different. No matter the experience level, it’s rare someone sticks with ONE process for ALL. This isn’t LOTR with one dangerous ring here. This is telling a good story and learning, growing, changing, being open to it. All writers have different thoughts because all of us are different. If something I say works, great. If something someone else says, works.
Disregard everything I say if it doesn’t. Same for another writer. Learn as you go. These blogs, other writing advice? Just gives you a place to start. Then you learn, grow, develop, teach your own method. I’ve been at this for nearing ten years now professionally. With my own name on books, it’s been about 5 yrs I think. And writing in general? Probably been at it all my life in some form or another, but really began at 18 or so (I’m 40).
If you enjoy watching the process, lemme know. I can develop other ideas just because.
Something to keep in mind with writing too? If you pose a question in the story, it should be answered by the end. So whatever you come up with in your idea phase, notes phase, remember that. If there is a question posed in the story – answer it. Is that a rule? No. Of course not. In a series – for example – you leave them open because you answer it later. In an open ended story, you leave the reader wondering. It is a good idea to wrap up the question though if you don’t ever plan to touch the story again. And again, I rarely say I never will touch another story. I say I don’t have plans to. Different.
I’m just stating it because when your mind knows that, it will generally wrap up those things without you thinking about it. Most of writing is instinct after a while. You won’t be able to always explain to another why you do what you do. That’s what makes a good storyteller, not a good writer. Grammar, isn’t story. When you first write and learn, you’re going to pay close attention to everything. You’re going to fear messing up. As time goes on and you grow as a writer (you write more and more and more), you will do things that others notice and you may not have any idea you did.
It’s like a police officer who feels something off about one person, while the crazy erratic one they ignore. They just feel something. Instincts. Works in writing too. At first you will be super cognizant of everything. You’ll fear mistakes, errors, and be oh my god, I’m doing this wrong, they’ll hate me, this is a stupid idea. Well, admittedly most of that we don’t get rid of, lol. BUT, you also get to a place where you understand this is your writing. If the reader wants a George R.R. Martin? They should go read him. YOUR readers want YOUR style and YOUR voice. Style is also learned over time. So don’t fear “wrong,” because here’s the thing – at least one person will think you are wrong. They will hate you.
Better? lol We can’t change that. Right now in this world there is someone who absolutely hates me. Another who hates my writing and uses it to show people how WRONG it is. How BAD it is. DON’T do this. DON’T follow her. SHE is a terrrriiiblllle writer and person!
Why? Because. You’ll never change that.
Do it anyway. Do it for you. Do it for the one who wants that story from you and who has been waiting all this time for that one person (that’s you!) to finally get it. Do it for that one person you will inspire to write. Do it for you because you just freakin’ enjoy writing.
Do it for another reason entirely.
Below are some great videos I’ve listened to lately. Last one will be the Brandon Sanderson lecture I spoke about earlier.
If you have a question – don’t hesitate to ask.
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