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September 10, 2010


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Ah, the plotser! Though it almost sounds like you were more of a puzzler/quilter. I know a few people who write this way. They write quilt squares and then they build their quilts!

But I think you found the right dance music for your pair and it works for you! So, cool!

Donna Cummings

Yes, I am happy with the freedom I have this way. LOL It's good to be flexible, though, to keep trying different methods since each book has its own needs. :)

Liz Fichera

I've never been one to outline very much either. Once I get going, my fingers can't stop typing. Outlining makes it feel too structured. It's like wearing a boring pantsuit when you really want to wear a fun red dress. :-)

Donna Cummings

Oooh, Liz -- I love the pantsuit v. fun red dress analogy! That's a perfect description -- doing what you're supposed to instead of what you want to can steal the fun out of a story. :)

Terri Osburn

I'm a pantsuit girl. I only have one complete MS, so I'm not sure if things will work the same way next time, but I need a story board. Which I guess is a giant outline.

I tried pantsing for the first few years and it just doesn't work for me. With this first one, I got about 100 pages in and then did the storyboard. From there, I follow the "vomit it out" first draft method. There is very little info on my storyboard postits, but I need to know what scene is next or else that rough draft would take me years, and still never be done.

I need the stones in the path to follow. I can't wing it and let the path fall where it may. I end up going nowhere.

Donna Cummings

LOL, Terri -- that's the beauty of writing, though. Everyone can find the method that works best for them, usually through trial and error (which it sounds like we both went through to get where we are).

I think I sorta follow a path. . .that appears a few stones at a time. LOL I really do learn a lot about the plot and story by having the characters jump around on stage, and then I try to figure out where they're headed after I've gotten some basic info about them. So I'm definitely a hybrid. LOL

Jan O'Hara

I'm a stepping-stone writer. I think. I see inviting footholds I'll want to reach, sometimes past the inciting incident. I often know the exact spot on the opposite bank I want to reach, but the exact steps between are a little murky. The trick is to remember I have rubber boots and towels, and it's not the end of the world if I lose my balance for a while.

Donna Cummings

I'm loving all these analogies everyone is coming up with today! Ya gotta love writers--they really know how to evoke such wonderful word pictures. :)

Jan, I think it is a great reminder about the rubber boots and towels -- "losing your balance" can lead you to some wonderful writing discoveries. It just requires some faith, and a little bit of courage. But what a reward awaits!

Terri Osburn

I do enjoy the confidence I have now that I didn't have before, when I was floundering. It's like that moment when you finally reach the side of the pool and know you have something to hold onto. I can wade out from time to time, but having an eye on the wall is what keeps me going.

It's almost like growing up. I wouldn't want to go back to being a kid, and I don't want to go back to being a newby writer splashing around without floaties. LOL!

Donna Cummings

Terri, that's exactly it -- having that confidence, when you finally know you're doing it the right way for you. :)

I love the pool analogy too. I remember being so brave when I was younger, sticking my leg out to see how far I could go while clutching that wall for safety. LOL It's always good to have that safe spot so you can be brave and venture out to the unknown.

Clarissa Southwick

Great story, Donna. My process is very similar to your own. I have spent years trying to learn other people's processes, and finally realized I just had to do it my own way.

Donna Cummings

Clarissa, isn't it liberating to figure that out? :) I always like to hear what other people do, in case there's a tidbit that I can use with my methods. But I'm very happy to do what works for me, now that I've got a handle on it.

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