Friday, April 6, 2012

Writing By The Seat Of Your Pants!

The past week, I have been in on a few discussions with other writers on their writing style. Do you do an outline first? Do you just sit down and start writing?
I am a "by the seat of my pants" writer.  I have an idea in mind, and I hit the keyboard running.  I let the story unfold as it enters and leaves my mind.  I have an idea where I think its headed, but I usually just start telling it.  After a few chapters, I will then go back and re-read and add and delete stuff as I see fit.  Occasionally an idea will appear out of nowhere, and I will have to run to the Mac and add it, or tweak something I have already written. I tried coming up with an outline, but at the end of it all, I just wanted to write the story.  I know when I taught English, I would tell my students to just let the story flow. Don't worry about spelling, and details. Just write. And that's what works for me.


  1. Hello Edward
    I know how my story is going to end, and I generally start as close to the ending as possible. I've never used an outline although I do keep a running scene list to help in the organization during the re-write. I often find that writing the first draft tends to chronological order and in the re-write I like to add ghost, or back story, to help explain the motives driving both hero and opponent.

    To me, the first draft is the creative part that I enjoy... the dynamic fun of writing. The re-write is more work... hard work at times... but entirely necessary in the development of a good story. I'll usually let the first draft sit a few weeks to give myself some distance from it before going back and doing the re-write.

    With my novels, the first draft generally ran roughly 20,000 words... mostly I wanted to grab onto the ideas flitting about me as I wrote not paying too much attention to details. Later, in doing the re-write, I embellish dialogue and story lines, add characters that might be essential, remove others that aren't, and make sure each sentence... indeed each word... moves the story along to its conclusion.

    I normally construct a timeline at this point to help guide the story from beginning to end, making note of each revelation and how they all tie into the finale. I often find I'll have to go back and change the middle of the story and sometimes the beginning but never the end.

    When the re-write is complete, again I'll set it aside for a few weeks. At this point I'll go over the entire manuscript checking for errors. I also have begun reading the completed manuscript aloud to get a sense of how a reader might see it for the first time. I'll record these readings and offer them as free podcasts on my website. In time I hope to offer all my books this way.

    Anyway... thank you for this opportunity!

  2. I definitely agree that the initial draft is the most fun. It's spontaneous and I let the story just go. Occasionally I will stop and go back to add or delete if I come up with something new that requires going back and fixing the story so it agrees. It's easier than waiting until it's complete and trying to find it again. When all is said and done, the rewrite and editing is time consuming, but like you said, extremely necessary.


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