What and how to start and where are you going? These are questions that every writer faces and if you are new to the art of writing a novel—lets face it they are pretty big hurdles. There are different ways to approach writing a book and I have loosely grouped them into two categories just for the sake of convenience:
- Write as it comes: This is where you let your characters write the book, they lead you and you write scenes at will, ultimately linking them all together.
- Outline the book: You know where you are going, who is going to be there and how the story progresses.
I have tried the first way, I just write a scene and I figure my characters will know what is going to happen. You know what, they don’t. Oh, they’ll show me a scene now and then which I add, but for the most part my characters only have life if I know where they are going. I’ll know it is the wrong route when I write the scene and nothing flows. I ENVY those writers that can write letting the characters write the story. They have joy in their writing but I have noticed when they hit the dark spots (those days of writing drought) it is deeper than any obsidian pit I have ever observed. (OK, a part of me is somewhat hoping that after some experience I will be able to relax enough to let my characters take over...)
Now I am trying the other way—I am plotting, making a rough outline, getting a direction and creating characters that will have to populate my world. Is it going to work? I don’t know. I will tell you as I go along. I have written short stories for the last few years and this is my first attempt at really getting a manuscript done for a book. Am I scared, heck yeah I am. Am I confused-that’s a state of being for me at this point. (But, like the little engine that could....)
What do you do when you approach writing a book? What kind of outline do you go for? How does it apply for romance? Fantasy? Any genre?