Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writing a Book is Like Making a Necklace

People ask me if I am a "seat-of-the-panster" or a "plotter" when it comes to writing novels and I always tell them I'm the former.

But it occured to me that saying I work by the seat of the pants doesn't mean I don't have a plan. It simply means I listen to my instincts and that I follow my characters where they lead me. I am open to detours, changes in direction, and plot reversals that I would have never anticipated.

I work better this way. I think the writing and story that emerge are more spontaneous and more entertaining to me as a writer and hopefully you as a reader. I have tried planning things down to the last detail and what comes out is often stodgy, dry, and certainly not to my liking. And if I don't like it, why should I expect anyone else to?

So I was thinking about an analogy as I work on my current book-in-progress and how every chapter, every scene is like a bead or a pearl I'm threading onto a necklace. Like a jewelry designer creating a necklace, I know roughly what my end product will be and its general shape and form.

But not knowing exactly how the necklace will become a complete whole, nor what it will look like at the very end, is one of the true joys of creating a story.

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