Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Wednesday's Writing Advice - Strategy
Whether you're a seat of the pants author or a compulsive planner there are some points you need to consider when starting a book. Finding a middle path between the two styles is hard but it can be done. No matter what your style, there are two points of the story that need to be in your head before you can begin.
The first is the beginning. Now this doesn't mean the writer needs to know this as a specific scene. The need to know is the general event that triggers the story. Could it be a death, a disappearance, a disaster of nature. When sends the characters off on an adventure helps either style of writing.
The second is the ending. Again, this isn't a specific scene. What the writer needs to know is whether the story ends in happiness of tragedy. Knowing this will allow then to find the right words through out the story to bring their work to a satisfactory ending.
Once these two points are there the writer can decide if they're going to plan or they're going to just start writing, The trick to keep this going is to move from scene to scene rather than set your plan for the entire book in concrete or just go with the flow. Things happen during the writing of a story. Characters sometimes rebel about the direction they're headed. And this can happen no matter what style of writer you are. Flexibility is important.
For myself, I'm a planner, but I also do a lot of seat of the pants writing. I plan a scene or a chapter and then sit down to write it but when something takes a turn, I keep going and then change the plan for the next chapter. Another thing is that I'm a draft writer. For me this works. To sit and revise every scene before I go on to the next one would bother me. I need to know the whole story before I can go back and make the needed changes. That means planning again.
So no matter how you work, you need to have a strategy that allows you to finish the story. This is what I tell new writers when I'm involved in critiquing sessions. Finish the book. If you don't finish it you can never revise and revision is where the story becomes complete.