Friday, October 21, 2022

No More Outliner Envy for Me. Discovery Writer All The Way, Baby


Greetings Campers,

No more Outliner envy for me. It just doesn't work. Lord knows I've tried. But I have given up because it's not who I am. Discovery writer all the way, Baby. You gotta be what you've got to be. 

Need some inspiration? Here's a classic: 

Say you're like me. You are not an outliner. Just no question. Can't be done. You are a discovery writer, sometimes called a seat of the pantser, and you've accepted your way.

I've been writing about how I try to find places in my fiction where I create special moments, emotional ones, mm's (memorable moments), for the reader. Think of any fiction you love and you'll think of certain moments that really stand out to you. You create those moments by building up to them, setting them up with a series of moments, foreshadowing what is to come for a chapter or ten or sometimes a whole novel, and then delivering some kind of payoff. You can look at any fiction you love and see these moments.

For example, LORD OF THE RINGS, has many.  Think of what led to that final moment when Frodo throws the ring into the fire. But you likely remember many more. One I remember, especially emotional, is when Gandalf is shouting "You shall not pass" and gets whipped from the bridge by the monster from the deep. The loss in that moment of Gandalf is like a punch to the face. 

So now I want to add another point to this. If you can imagine several of these emotional moments before you get writing OR as you're working through your five/six day flashdraft,(see below) then you have given yourself a great push forward and likely saved yourself a lot of time.

I'm not talking about an outline. I'm just talking about coming up with a few special emotional moments on one page before you write your first draft. You just use what works as your discover your story in your flashdraft. 

Say you have the Gandalf scene. You think about what might lead up to it and you do a little reverse design. What can you make happen to get there? 

Having a few ideas like this (sort of like points on a map but do not think plot, think cool moments, emotional outcomes) before your start your flashdraft (see earlier blog entries for complete explanation) can save you even  more time and help you make the right choices.

Good writing


On a more personal note. I have a new novel (third in a trilogy) coming out this week. It's Scifi fantasy with aliens and dogs and lots more. Out on the 27th on Amazon. First novel free for three days after to celebrate the publication.

My dog, Gandalf, has a role as Velcro1 and Velcro2 in all three books.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Want To Know Moments

 Set up Want To Know Moments. 

Not what you want to know and not what your character wants to know. I'm talking about the reader.  You know that person on the other side of your writing. The one who actually reads what you wrote.We don't talk about the reader much but we should. I get the "I write for myself" argument. I do write for myself . But what I've learned as I've gone along is that I have to think about the reader too, especially when focusing on the storytelling side of things.

There are many ways to engage a reader BUT you must keep them  wanting to turn, no, excited to turn the page. Cool world building, complex characters, good language  are important but you need narrative momentum, you need the WANT TO KNOW MOMENTS, to keep the reader reading. It's a skill and an art to build a story. But creating want to know moments will go a long way.

Think of small things, big things, medium size things that you plant in your story that the reader will want answers about. Some of these might be fairly immediate. In the same chapter. Some might be a thing the reader wants to know through the whole novel. Your skill at setting these up and developing them, showing progress, and then giving resolution (THE PAYOFF) will be an enormous part of the success of your storytelling.

An example might be a relationship between two characters. Think of a simple Rom-Com. Two characters meet, they don't like each other or they do but regardless something gets in the way of their starting a relationship. We're all so familiar with this plot how can it ever work? Because the reader WANTS TO KNOW...How will it work? Specific skills at developing a relationship that in a Rom-Com we all know will work out is what I'm talking about. All along the way will be small WANT TO KNOWS and you, as a writer, will make the characters work through them. Then there's a satisfying moment. A first kiss. But it doesn't work out so the setback sets out another WANT TO KNOW MOMENT. They get back together...etc...You see— it's foreshadowing and resolution again and again to the ending.

Think Lord of the Rings. There's the big WANT TO KNOW...will Frodo be successful in destroying the ring... but think of all the other small WANT TO KNOWS that are set up and answered in the story.

You need many tools in your toolbox to write a novel. Understanding  the importance of WANT TO KNOW and learning how to foreshadow and build up to an answer, a resolution, is an important one.

Keep Writing,