Thursday, September 23, 2010

Learning the hard way

I've learned something. And I just might do it every time I start a new story.

So, some of you know I had to write a complete short story for my 11th writing assignment. That means a beginning, middle and an end. Normally, when I start a novel, I have an idea where I want it to go, but I don't sit down and map it all out, write an outline or have an organized plan. Many authors do this and it saves them a lot of time and frustration.

Then there are aughtors out there like me who usually just have a great idea and start their story, writing like mad-men. The problem is that you can write yourself into a conrner or get stuck because you didn't have a solid plan. This has happened to me a few times. It can be very frustrating.

I took this latest I assignment and am turning into a novel. I knew I loved the story idea when I first had it but now, becaused I had to write it as a short story, I have the beginning, middle and an end. My story is pretty much all mapped out. I won't get stuck. I know what happens, and how it will end. I LOVE that! It takes all the pressure off my muse! LOL

I do have to add more juicy scenes and excitement, but that's the easy part. I'm so excited to sit down every day and add more. I'm think I'm going to do this with every book I start. (I hope) That way, I'll know how it should end before I get there, before I write myelf into a corner. Yeah, I'm sure some of you learned this a long time ago, but I'm a beginner, remember? And usually, I have to learn things the hard way.


Misha said...

One day I told someone that I wrote myself into her corner and her reply stayed with me since:

"Sometimes corners aren't the end, but rather the chance to learn how to fly..."

And it's so true, usually my muse leads me to a corner on purpose and before long I realize that it wasn't an obstacle at all. It just takes patience.

Some of the best changes in my stories come from escaping corners. Although I own that it is sometimes an incredibly painful and frustrating process.

I actually have the beginning, main plot points and the end of the Epic in mind, but I gave up planning early along.

Partly I was too lazy. Partly I'm insane. And partly I picked a story with too many turns to represent graphically or even in shortened form...

Still I also like the fact that I know where the book is heading, even if I'm vague as to how it gets there.

Good luck with the writing :-)

Joanna St. James said...

hey this is funny, we are starting storyboards on my blog just to help us pantsers shimmy along and give the plotters an opportunity to break out the excel sheet again

Jamie said...

This sounds like a great idea. I was just asking someone today if I should maybe consider outlining in some form or fashion to see if it might make me less stressed out and more excited...but this way sounds really cool, too! I might have to give it a try...thanks for the great post!

Kittie Howard said...

Thanks for a great post. I hadn't thought about corners being a great place to learn how to fly. But how true it is!

Old Kitty said...

Well I think it's BRILLIANT that you have a story with a beginning, middle and end that you are now about to turn into a novel - I think that's such a wonderful gift so yay for you!! I wish you all the very best with it - you just GO GIRL!! Run with this!! :-)

Take care

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm normally a panster but lately I've been trying to make myself outlines. We'll see how that works for me...

L.T. Elliot said...

I love knowing how things end before I write. Me and Outlining? Yeah, we're totally going steady.

KarenG said...

I don't outline, but I do know the beginning, middle and end before I begin. Well, sort of.

Las Vegas Writer said...

Congrats on the new idea :) Hope it goes well!

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

I don't think there is a right or wrong way to approach a novel. Each author should do what works for her or him. If writing a short version in advance helps your process, then stick with it.

I "pantsed" through the first draft of my book and boy did I regret it. My plot had more holes than Swiss cheese, I approached my characters from the wrong POV, and there were some continuity problems.

I did not want to complete a manuscript a makeover, only to learn that I used too much blush, or skimped on the eyeshadow. In order to prevent this, I decided to outline the entire story before proceeding to the second draft.

The process took a little over a month, but it was worth the time. I overcame obstacles in the plot, considered when and how to introduce characters and back story etc. IMHO, the story is light years from the original version. I will never be a pantser again.

JW said...

I loved the responses here. I was feeling bad because I read a fiction writer must be analytical and I thought.. wait. I am not. I don't have an outline. I have a vague idea of how it will go and I am writing... hopefully I don't find a corner, but if I do, I will at least learn something! :) I am glad you like having the map for this one, though. :)

Anne said...

I am a total pantser and for my first novel it did more harm than good. I think need a good outlining app. :)

LTM said...

I've done both ways, and I think it all depends on the project... it does help to have a pretty good idea of how the story will end, I've found. Otherwise, as the muse leads... :D

Now head over to my blog. Gotcha sumpin~ ;p

Lori said...

My current WIP is based on a short story I wrote about emotional flowed with more ease than some of my other novels. But then again I've tried to base other novels on other short stories without as much success. My manuscripts have been like my children--what worked for one hasn't necessary been the best for another, and each taught me something new about my strengths and weaknesses.

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