Monday, 29 August 2011

The calm in the storm

Over the last few months I've been working through a new process for writing. 
Back when I began writing, I would start with an idea, a few scene images, a vague notion of an ending, and just start typing.  I learned a lot from those attempts, but the reality was, they weren't very good.  Later, when I started writing short stories, I began planning and structuring how they would go before I actually wrote them, and found this helped enormously.  They flowed better, had less fluff, and required a lot less editing afterward.
So when I came to write my latest novel idea, I intended to spend some time planning first.  Fortunately, that was when my wife found Karen S. Wiesner's book, "First Draft in 30 Days".  This woman is brilliant!  Her strategies for coming up with a fully developed outline before actually writing a single scene are pure genius.  Rather than blundering along hoping that my inspiration will supply the relevant details and plot twists as I go, I've been able to plan the whole thing out in depth first, spotting and fixing weak points as I go, so that I now have what I think is a solid, enjoyable story ready to write.
The catch now, or course, is the recommended "Putting it on the Shelf" time.  I want to write the darn thing in full right now!  But the process includes a period of time where you just leave the plan untouched and let your mind work on something else.  It allows for fresh eyes to assess what you've done when you get back to it.  Given how helpful the other steps in Karen Wiesner's process have been, I'm willing agree that it's a good idea. is the quiet spot in the writing of this particular project.   For now, I shall work on the beginning stages of plotting other ideas and on marketing my short stories.  In the meantime, I can't recommend "First Draft in 30 Days" enough.  It has changed how I approach writing and I'm loving it!

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