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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are you the Novelist with a Plan or the Undiscovered Path?


When you set out to write your novel, do you find that you try to plan the whole thing out first?  Are you the one who creates your outline and sticks to it? 

Or are you the one who just has a somewhat idea in your head and you really don't have an inkling where your novel is headed?  The one who refuses to write a skeleton idea, and just hopes that the novel will write itself.  Are you the one who doesn't really have your characters knowing what they want?  And they have to go down a dark tunnel filled with surprises and you are just the type of person to pray that it all works out in the end and that you have a great story line that people are going to want to carry themselves through your journey with you.

I tend to be the person who just goes with the flow.  I do have a somewhat set out plan for my trilogy and my other novels.  But all the fillings in between the crust hasn't really been fleshed out yet.  And we sure know that the filling is the best part!!!!

As the writer, we know that the filling will be included.  After all a pie with no filling is really no pie.  And a story without a beginning, middle and ending doesn't really gel.  Also, a story without believable well loved characters is about as bland as a tuna fish casserole without the chips on top and all the yummy sauces.  You need a great story filled with your ideas if you are going to remotely have a chance of one that is going to hit the mark.

That's what we are all after, hitting the mark, coming up with an exceptional story that will be remembered for years down the road.  Make us millions and so that we can keep doing what we love to do.  Yes, that's it.

But, even if you are like me and you just go with the flow with your words, you still need to have some sort of outline, some sort of guidelines or a reference that is going to see you through to where you want your novel to go.

Don't be afraid of going back into it and reworking it.  Editing can be challenging but is really quite the fun part.  I always remember one of my old neighbor's teenage daughters saying that editing is the best part and the most fun.

When one is willing to look at the large body of work and decide to go back and see it in a new life, this is when we have freed ourselves to try something new.  To make the writing better than it ever was before is so absolutely satisfying that we just can't not do it.

We close the door when we aren't willing to tweak the story and change it somehow.  How many of us have written the first draft and felt satisfied with it to feel no need to go any further.  Yup.  First draft all typed up and yes, it's done.  In your dreams it's finished.  This is what we sometimes do back in Junior High or High School when we have written something we like.  We love it just as it is and we aren't willing to make something different.

When we grow up and become well seasoned writers, we unlock the mysteries of why we love to write and there it is right smack in our faces.  The pristine beauty of a novel we slaved over, processed and re invented into something it wasn't going to be but now is.  That is the glory.

And I really think it doesn't matter whether or not our novel is all planned out with no unpredictability or if it is a roller coaster with all these dips and bends that we didn't see coming.  Sometimes those are the best parts.

Jennifer Jo Fay

Copyrighted December 13, 2012


As is the same with photography, the composition should be well thought out, but not always.  One's approach to anything has limitless processes and no one way is more right than the other.

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