Monday, September 19, 2022

Be What You've Got To Be: Discovery writer or Outliner


 Be what you’ve got to be. Try outlining and discovery writing (some call this pantsing as in flying by the seat of your pants) if you don’t know which you have to be. Figure it out. But don’t try to be an outliner just for the security of it if  it’s not the way you work. You’ll do outlines that don’t get you anywhere or that take you to the wrong places. 


GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO FLY BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS OR, as I prefer to call it DISCOVERY WRITE, if that’s the kind of writer you are.


However, I can save you some time if that’s the kind of writer you are. I suggest you look at the first couple of drafts as discovering your story. Don’t get caught up in trying to keep most of a first draft that is really just you discovering your characters, setting and plot. If you do that, you’ll end up with a poorly crafted novel.


You have to work your way through drafts, carefully throwing out any bit that isn’t part of what you’re trying to build. You have to be a bit ruthless in this regard. You have to be open to cutting absolutely anything that gets in the way. It may take you (as it takes me) three drafts to actually get to the revision draft.


That’s why I make my first draft a zoom draft—because I realize I will get great ideas and good characters and good plot points but that I will throw out much of a first draft. The second draft I usually keep about half but really start to get down what my novel is and who is in it and what happens. Third draft the book stretches out some and it’s the first draft I feel like, Hey, I might actually have a book. Then it’s revision drafts—fast.


Sounds long. I can do all this in under four months.


You can be a discovery writer and still write well and fast if you have the right process.


Good luck writers. Hope this is helpful.