Talking about it without talking about it!

Typically I’m the sort of writer who, if I try to nail the plot down before I write the first draft, I get bored with the story. I’m also write more-or-less chronologically and, when I get halfway done, the story collapses like a house of cards, only to come back better and stronger and awesome.

For the soon to be current WiP (after Seditember), I’m going to have to do things differently. Why?

This one started as a short story a number of years ago. I loved it, but I saw the potential for bigger and better and awesome. And then, I became bogged down in too many details with it. Decided I was bored with it. Went on to write Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales. Couldn’t decide on a direction (YA? Paranormal suspense? Paranormal romance?) Couldn’t decide what Cool and Awesome and Riddled with Strife and Angst story to tell. Bogged it down. Switched main characters. Gave up. Got the germ of another idea for an unrelated story. Woke up talking to the MC in the story that would not give up . . . you know how it goes.

Because this MC is coming at me with so much stuff I knew right away MC was talking serial. And, I admit it. I baulked. Dug my feet in. It’s what I do. Ask Beth.

This is why I know I need to, at the least, do chapter summaries for myself. Because, I need to keep myself focused. There’s too much cool and awesome stuff to explore with this MC, and it can’t happen all in the first book, and I need to remember that. (Yes. First book. I’ve got a pretty good idea of books 1-3 and the beginning of 4 already in mind). So, I’m going to break out a notebook and do chapter summaries in between editing moments during this, Seditember. (Such a spazz! “I’m going to edit and when I need a break from editing I’m going to plot!”) I dunno how it’ll go. I’m hoping it’ll keep me engaged and not bore me. I hope it won’t backfire and make me bored with the story. I think this one isn’t going to let me go until I write it, so . . .

Starting in October my goal is 25k words a month. Reasonable goals when I get most of my writing done on the weekend, and by the end of December I should have 75k. (We’ll ignore the part about writing wherein you can write thousands upon thousands of words in a sitting and end up only a few hundred ahead, or, heh, with a negative count. That’s not part of my plan and thus it does not factor in. Sssh)

What’s your preferred approach to writing, in terms of working out the plot?


10 thoughts on “Talking about it without talking about it!

  1. deshipley

    Used to be, I made everything up as I went along. Very little good came of that, I must say. Now I’ve skipped on down to the other end of the spectrum, where I’ll often type up enough pages of brainstorming for a novel to fill a novelette.

    I’ve only done a chapter-by-chapter outline once, more usually breaking it down into larger sections — one for each year in a story made up of letters sent between sweethearts over the course of their long engagement, for example — or simply bouncing back and forth between details and big picture and back again, middle to beginning to somewhere near the end.

    I’ll usually just keep adding to my journal-like pre-work, mapping and re-mapping as completely as I can, until that point where my fingers get jittery and my spirit barks, “Okay, enough talk, writethebook, writethebook, writetheBOOK!” And then I’ll write the book.

    1. Jolene Post author

      I’m thinking the larger section breakdown may be where I end up. Or, at least, nothing more detailed than a line or two for each chapter. Actually, I’m making that up. I have no idea how this’ll end up being. It’s awesome to read about what other folks do, however. (I love shop-talk)

  2. eritta

    My husband and I write out dialogue everywhere our little hearts desire, then I take all those scenes to the paring knife, and then I prosify them. Occasionally I need to write an outline as well. And sometimes, I get horribly stuck and have to have hubby sit down with me and go ‘ok, this happens, then this, then this’. This is especially true for scenes with fights.

    (HI, I found you through a random search!)

    1. Jolene Post author

      Hi! (Nice to meet you!) I have to admit, I use dialogue a lot as ‘candy’ scenes, to help move things along. Writing all the dialogue first seems interesting! (Interesting enough that suddenly I’m all, hrrm, how could I have been writing most of my life already and not have tried that yet?)

  3. J.D.

    It used to be, as you know, where I’d just fly by the seat of my pants. Now I’ve been in edit/revision/edit/revision mode for a while and trying to get something new, well, seems to be requiring the plot and worldbuild first and worry about the word count later. Sometimes scenes come at me randomly, though, so I guess I do still do a little of both. Whatever works for you, I saw go with it!

    1. Jolene Post author

      It’s going to be fun, doing this! (And, boy, what an attitude adjustment from my last attempt at this one). I’m even dreaming about it now, and plot-solving in the dream, which I generally don’t do, so that rocks.

  4. firefly124

    I dunno about “preferred” approach, but I generally start out with a plot in mind, and then the characters spend the rest of the time telling me all the ways it happened completely differently than I thought.

    1. Jolene Post author

      I actually thought of you a lot, yesterday, when, in my head, my WiP became “the project that would not stay dead” which . . . yes. I dunno why I thought of you . . .

  5. lykeiaofapollon

    I don’t know..I don’t do alot of creative writing. Generally my approach to writing is find a sentence to start and then let my mind follow and unfold telling the story (even in the case of an essay I try to approach it as telling a story 🙂 ) I may skip down further on the page when I know something I want to add but don’t know where to put it I will just write it further down knowing I have the option to move it around when it is time to do so 🙂


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