Wow! Last week’s post is the most popular I’ve ever written. I’m torn between ‘You guys are amazing!’ and ‘What did I write?’. Well, you are awesome. And I hope this post doesn’t disappoint. I’m a little worried about it, to be honest. A simple google search will reveal a ton of articles on this subject.
Writing a story is every bit as much a journey as reading a good story is. And like every journey, how you get there can be as important as where you go.
It’s possible to take a trip where you plan out everything in advance to the point of knowing where each stop will be and how long you’ll stay there. It’s possible to just get in a car and drive, going wherever your fancy takes you. Most people probably do something in between most of the time.
Writing is exactly the same. Some people know exactly where the story is going to go, every twist and turn, before they put words to paper. Useful for more complex works or mysteries. Also you seldom end up lost. But then again, you may miss some of the joy of discovery. Others just start writing and see where it takes them. NaNoWriMo is especially made for these people. Stories are generally less predictable, but it is possible to write yourself into a corner or just end up blocked.
I suspect most of us try a middle ground. (Sometimes called Plantsing). We have some idea of where we want the story to go, but continue to make up things as we go along. This is what I usually do. With a pretty heavy side of pantsing. My current story, I have little to no idea what’s going to happen. Even with its’ prequel, my most planned out story yet, I ended up coming up with a major side plot just because I decided that there was no reason for the Main Character to get the information she wanted just yet. It was too early.
So, which one is best?
None of them.
These are tools. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. If I waited until I knew everything in a story, I would never get a thing written. But my stories are disorganized in the first draft and need a fair amount of revision and it isn’t uncommon for me to just blank out at various spots. A little more organization would probably help me out. Other people would be driven mad trying to write with as little to go on as I sometimes have.
Not one of these is better than the others. It’s simply what works for you. Experiment. If you’re used to planning everything out, why not try a little more freewriting. You make everything up as you go along? Try plotting things out a little more. Use your Writer’s Bible. Not every story needs the same combination. Maybe a little more planning for a mystery, maybe a little less for a romance. (Or switch them, see what happens). Have fun. If the journey isn’t fun for you, what’s the point?
Speaking of journeys, I missed last week’s Pinterest and Facebook updating, partially because of travel, but I plan to update them both this week. For any traveling this week, safe journeys. And Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers.