There are a few things going on in the life as Louise Charles. Firstly, I’ve been working on Continue reading
At the end of the tunnel, that is. In February I wrote a post about the revision course I’m taking. Back then I was on Lesson Three (out of 22) after a little bit of a stop start. Now I’m on Lesson Twelve and I can’t say it’s got much easier but Continue reading
I don’t blog ‘how to’ posts as I reckon there are a lot of good writing bloggers out there already and there isn’t enough room for any more advice. I regularly go through my email subscriptions as if I did read every piece of advice on writing, the writing would never get done! What I do share is what works for me. Continue reading
Writing stories of whatever length, can mean gathering a lot of information. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m organised, then spend hours looking for that one snippet of research, or a name I thought would fit, or a picture of a setting. And the longer it takes Continue reading
Following my post last week about writing habits and NaNoWriMo challenge, I thought I might share my preparation for the big event. I’m not doing the novel challenge but instead will be drafting a short story every day in preparation for submissions next year. I’m aiming for around 2000 words per day and in order to get ahead of the game, no it’s not cheating… Continue reading
It took me a long time through my writing journey (one which I know will never end) to understand that novels are not written in their readable form in one steamy afternoon. I don’t have a problem with knocking out a first draft – I have six of them in varying states of rebirth but I have struggled with finding a process for rewriting, which is the time when the real stuff really happens. Continue reading
Writers don’t have to be seen to be heard, or written for that matter. But routines and habits – if not what they wear – are linked to releasing those creative juices for some of the great writers of our times… Continue reading
How do you organise your notes, scribbles, thoughts and things ‘to be read later?’ If like me you regularly end up with a stash of unread emails and bookmarks of useful articles, never to be found again, or you spend an entire afternoon searching for an image or a snippet of information that is critical to the scene your’re writing, then read on. Continue reading
Is there such a thing as a typical writing day? Not in my world. My day starts very early. Too early. Our English Springer Spaniel pup, known affectionately Continue reading
As you may know from previous posts, I’ve been looking at various plotting tools for structuring my writing. They serve as a kind of writers road map. A bird’s eye view of the journey. What you see and do on the way is yet to unfold but at lead you know the general direction.
There are several methods and principle and not one is right or wrong, it’s a personal choice for a writer about which one suits them best. These are a list of ones I’ve come across just lately.
- Basic Three Act Structure
- Story Engineering – The Six elements of Story telling
- Save the Cat
- Heroes Journey
- Story Fix Four Part Structure
Some writers have shown that its enough to just write a few words down first and then write. It provides a base from which you can develop a structure and increase your word count.
My favoured structure tool is the Snowflake method. I used it to plot out The Duke’s Shadow, my first novel and I’ve used it for another work in progress. Beforehand I used to sit myself down and write. I have three manuscripts written in the ‘panster’ mode and when it comes to editing, I’m finding it a bit of a nightmare. As much as I’d like to think I can just dreamily write 70,000 words, a planned approach works best for me-though I fought tooth and nail against it. In a previous life, my day was all about structure and plans and I yearned for the chains to be unshackled.
However, most days need some kind of framework whatever you may be doing and if you want to achieve something it’s pretty much essential. Having a rough idea of where I’m going and what I’m going to write about really does help. As a writer I don’t want to take just any road. I want a road that leads somewhere. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t change on the way. Nothing is set in stone and these tools are simply guides, a set of broad principles to apply as you see fit. I don’t see how that limits creativity or silences the muse. In fact, for me, it sets it free because once the planning bit is done I can fill up my pen and write and write and write!
So why do I favour the Snowflake method? Well, that’s the answer to the second big question about writing (the first being to plan or not to plan) and whether you prefer the character driven or plot driven approach to your writing? Again, this question is a personal one and it may depend on the genre you write in. I don’t have the right answer, only what works for me. And I’m character driven. For me, the characters ARE the plot and therefore I need them to be grounded first to make my story work. The Snowflake actually does a bit of both. I like to structure my stories around the characters so that they blend and tell the story rather than clash and fight for centre stage.
So are you a panster? Or do you plot and plan. And why?
Next Time: I will be talking about two information management tools that I use for reading and referencing