Saturday, October 24, 2009

2 AM wake up call

As I grow as a writer, I tend to experiment with methods. As you can see in the side bar, I'm working on another book--women's fiction. Finish one. Start another.

But this time, with the help of my critique partners, I'm laying out the groundwork ahead of time. Kind of like building a house. Can't do it without a good blueprint, if you're obsessive like me.

I've tried the panster method (did I even spell that word right??) and it doesn't work--not if I want layers in my book.

And from reading some great how-to books lately on writing fiction, I know layers count. So does motivation and inner conflict.

Last night I wanted to jump out of bed at two am and write notes. Yup. I found what one of my characters needs. His secret, more inner conflict and the way he can become a hero through self-sacrifice.

So I'm happy my method of shaping the first few chapters is working. For me it is. I'm laying the groundwork for future layers now and I think that might eliminate a lot of work later.

What method have you found through trial and error that works best for you?

20 comments:

Amy De Trempe said...

I am a panster. I've tried to outline and it never works out for me. The first time the characters took over and midway through the story was in a direction I never intended, but it worked out better that way. The second time I tried to be more detailed. But, once I got to the end and knew everything that was going to happen the story wasn't a suprise for me and I didn't want to write it. So, back to being a panster and letting my characters dictate the journey to the end. I still know what is going to happen I just don't know how we are all going to get there yet. I like to be surprised.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Go Terri, go Terri! I've outlined extensively on my current womens fic WIP, and think it's helping create tight threads, etc.

Sassy Granny ... said...

Oh dear ... since I'm not a novelist, my writing doesn't require as much focus. However, whatever I ponder it often works better with either chocolate or fettucine alfredo, depending on the severity.

It's wonderful to hear how exciting is your WIP.

Blessings,
Kathleen

Diane said...

You know if its 2 AM it must be great! Glad things are moving along for you. A friend I know keeps a pen, pad and flashlight next to his bed in case a 2 AM brainstorm call comes. :O)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I'm kind of a mix between a panster and a planner. It's kind of stressful. :0)

What "how to" books have you been reading?

Have a great weekend!

Tamika: said...

Terri, I am so happy for you! I tried the panster too, and it left me frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. I almost did, until I stop and prayed.

I have begun outlining (which I was terrified of in the beginning) and I love it! There are now seven chapter summaries under my belt, character profiles for each of the major players, and so on.

The planning elevates all the stress of trying to make things cohesive and intriguing.

I know you will enjoy the new method. Happy writing...

Amy Tate said...

Don't you just love it when those ideas present themselves in the middle of the night? Why is that? I wish I could program my brain to work that creatively AFTER my coffee.

Susan R. Mills said...

You've just described my feeling perfectly. I am a pantster, but I've learned exactly what you did. Writing by the seat of the pants turns out to be flat. I am completely rewriting my first ms because of this. Great post.

Sande said...

Would so love to know the books you have read and recommend ....!

Analisa said...

I am a big thinker. Not a big intellectual smarty pants, not that I am knocking that. I love smart folks. But I think alot about my characters before I write anything. It is almost like the story is nailed down in my head then I have to find a way to get that mood and way of life on paper.

AnooCre8ion said...

Hi Terri just stopping by to say hello. Great to hear how things are going with you. I am currently in Bible school only on weekends but absolutely loving it.

Still haven't got a laptop yet. Praying for a big deal on black Friday. So in the meantime I have an old PC that's kinda slow but works when need it to and I bless God for that.

blessings,
Vickie

Journaling Woman said...

I think I am a plotter.

Isn't it funny, that our children keep us up at night when they are babies and again when they are teenagers, but if you are a writer, characters can wake us up also.

Lin Floyd said...

you are way beyond me, i'm only writing short articles but do get ideas early in the morning also...

Jessica said...

There's no method to my madness. *smirk*

Good for you! I'm hearing a lot about layers and honestly, what does that mean? Now I have to look it up. LOL
I hope this new way works for you. :-)

sarah said...

I've never planned but I read that's what J.K. Rowlings did in the Potter series. In one of my stories, I'm stuck - been stuck for awhile. Maybe I need to stop and do some planning. I miss that creative writing when you can't stop....

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I'm usually a sotp writer, but lately I'm trying to sketch things out a little more detailed.

Will you be doing the NaNoWriMo challenge, Terri, with this new ms of yours?

P.S. I'm scheduled to meet for the first time with my writers' collective group tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yayy! Glad you are excited!


The only way I've ever written that doesn't make me sieze up is to just put fingers on keys and write...once I have a good draft, I then go thru it over and over until it takes shape. When I try to think of "plots" or outlines or any kind of structure, my brain won't function! ergh.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I've been having a lot of 2 a.m. meeting with paper and pen and my thoughts! My brain won't slow down; unfortunately, not many of them are making it to print. I've got so much going on... I think I could use a breather. It's coming after I finish some recent commitments.

Hope you're getting some good nibbles in regards to your work, your house, your husband's unemployment. Would love an update as time allows.

Thanks for checking in.

peace~elaine

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Lots of sitting in silent pondering helps me. It also keeps the characters from tapping me on the brain at 2am for input.

Edie said...

Wow I love what you've shared here. I'm not a writer, I'm a graphic artist. But I can't tell you how many times my best ideas come after I've gone to bed.

Your hero thought sounds like a winner.