Monday, February 22, 2016

The Varied Writing Process

Every writer eventually finds a writing process that works for them. Some are strict outliners. Some are free wheeling pantsers. Many fall in between.

On the podcast I produce, my co-hosts and I have had the opportunity to talk to several other
Leonid Pasternak
authors (hopefully we'll be able to one day say several DOZEN authors, but I digress.) One thing we always talk about is their process. One author is a strict outliner. Another has a rough idea where their story is going but nothing is written in stone. But the vast majority so far we've talked to are in that in-between part.

Like me, we outline some. But we pants our way through our points. We have a pretty good idea where we're headed, but we don't always know how we're going to get there. And every author seems to have a different take on this. It's really quite fascinating to learn about the different nuances, and to know that regardless of the process, the end product--a finished, publishable book--is still the same.

It's interesting to listen to the different takes every author has. For instance, Jeff Gerke told a story about how in his early days (and pre-kids and pets) he meticulously outlined on 3 x 5 notecards an entire book, which he organized on the floor of his home. And he realized that in doing such a meticulous outline, it took the fun out of the writing process for him. As such, he never wrote that book.

But he learned that such detailed outlining didn't work for him.

For others, like K.M. Weiland, a detailed outline is the only way they can write a book. To pants their way through is nearly impossible.

Either way--plotting or pantsing (or a word we've coined on the podcast: plotsing)--works for different writers. There's no right or wrong way to do it. The important thing is that it works for YOU.

So tell me, what does your writing process look like? Do you outline extensively? Or do you start writing without much more than an idea and a few characters?
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