In our local writer’s group a while back (seriously was probably last year…) we were talking about “how we write.”
I mentioned that I’m a “winger.” I like to wing it and just write and see what comes out of my keyboard. I come up with the funniest stuff off the top of my head, then go back and create a plan.
I’ve switched to calling myself the more “normal” term of… Seat of the Pants Writer… after a fellow writer told me to be careful when I said “winger.” Um, yeah. So I say “seat of the pants” now.
All you outliners right now, on top of cringing at the thought of someone mistaking “winger” for something else, are also probably getting breaking a sweat at the thought of just writing without a plan. I understand completely, because I get the same feeling when I think about sitting out and trying to plan/outline a story.
But there comes a point in every SOTPW’s life that they have to put together a rough outline, as hated as it may be.
I’ve reached that point in my current novel. I’m at 20k words and am hitting a pivotal change in my story. My “top of my head” stuff has served me well so far. I have a ton of ideas, I have a story taking shape that I’m really happy to. But I also have all these threads that I’ve created that now need to be sewn together to intertwine and eventually climax to complete my story.
That’s where my outline comes in. If you can call it that. Really, at the moment, it is just me writing down off the top of my head what my book will be about. It’s me connect all my dots and deciding where my book is headed. I still have a few questions in my head, still a few character traits I need to learn about Maddie and Reuben, but I’m getting there.
This is also when I map out my chapters. Not my future chapters, mind you. But my past chapters, and start logging them as I go. This makes me ensure that there’s a “point” to each chapter and that I’m moving along nicely.
Writer’s approach how they “organize” their writing in so many different ways. I use excel and am tweaking and experimenting as I go to see which way I like best. There are no right or wrong ways.
Some use detailed scene GMC’s, other’s use a comprehensive outline, still others have sticky notes galore and poster boards mapping story arcs.
Regardless, I’m a big believer that there is no “better” or “best” way. We all have unique brains and need to cater to our individual mental needs. I’d love to hear how each of YOU organize your book as you write. Maybe we’ll get some ideas from each other!