Saturday, November 2, 2013

Robyn Roze – How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No? @robynrozeauthor

How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants:  Outline or No?

There is no perfect formula for writing a great story.  There is only what works best for you.  Some writers use detailed outlines to keep themselves on track and their thoughts organized.  There is certainly nothing wrong with that approach.  However, it’s not my style.  This is a bit surprising to me, as I am so organized in every other aspect of my life.  Yet, I prefer an organic approach to writing that is more nebulous, hard to pin down, and not easily defined.  Why?  Well, because I write the story that my characters want to tell.  I don’t force my story on them.

It’s no different than when you first meet someone.  You don’t know everything about them right away.  It’s the same with characters in a story.  Of course, I start with ideas and a general sense of where I’m headed, but as I begin writing and developing the characters, it’s not uncommon for me to change from my original course.  As I get to know the people I’m writing about, get in their heads, I quite often take turns in my storytelling that I wasn’t expecting when I first sat down to tap away at my laptop.  This makes it fun for me, like an adventure.  In some respects, it puts me in the shoes of the reader wondering what is going to happen next.  This type of writing process keeps me excited and eager to see where I will end up.  I often can’t wait to sit down and see where I will be taken each day.

What’s more, I never know the ending when I begin writing.  I like it that way.  It frees me up to write authentically without having to contrive a story in such a way as to arrive at my preconceived outcome.  Again, I go where my characters take me and sometimes it’s not comfortable places, but it’s always fun and worth the time and effort.  I have had moments while writing a story when I discover that I’m writing something completely different from what I had intended.  Those moments always fill me with energy and a renewed curiosity about where it will all lead.

Now having said this, writers still, no matter their process, have to line up thoughts, words, paragraphs and ultimately chapters that are coherent, easy to read, and will keep the reader turning pages.  My process may not be an organized one, but I make sure to arrange the output with the reader in mind.  I want my stories to have an easy, natural flow that goes unnoticed.  I want the reader more caught up in finding out what happens next than paying attention to a particular writing style.  At least that’s my goal, and I think it’s safe to say the same is true for most writers.

Here is another thing.  I don’t believe in making myself write something every single day as some suggest is necessary.  If I have to force myself to write, well, the output is going to reflect it.  To me, those times when I don’t feel like writing, or don’t know what to write next, are the very times when I need to step back and reread, or rethink, what I’ve already written.  I start all over in the sense that I look with fresh eyes from the beginning, see where I’m currently at, and think about what the next step would be for the characters.  I wait until they tell me.  No, I do not hear voices.  I know that my characters are imaginary, but I do feel them.  When you spend as much time creating people in your head with all of their flaws, nuances, and tics, as writers do, you feel like they’re real, you feel like you know them.

There is no magic pill for writing.  No systematic instructions that will guarantee a great story destined to become a bestseller.  Find your own voice, your own style, and discover your own process.

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Genre – Women’s Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Romance

Rating – R

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