From The Writing Trenches

Thoughts and observations from my writing desk.

So, to start something a little new for my blog I’m going to be posting some short, hopefully interesting, insights I’ve had on my journey as a writer. These are extracts from my past newsletters which I send out fortnightly, so if you like them, feel free to sign up here and get them straight to your inbox along with a few other bits and pieces I send out. 

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Plotting Vs. Discovery Writing (or pantsing).

For those who don’t know, these are the two ‘main’ ways many authors write books. Plotting, as you may have guessed, means outlining a story before the writing actually starts. Discovery writing is where authors have a ‘rough’ idea of how the story will go but just start writing without an end goal in mind. Now, each of these has a wide range within them, such as a plotter working out every single chapter or one who just has the overall key plot points, and many writers advocate one method over the other. 

When I wrote my first three books, I took a more discovery writing approach, which allowed the story to grow organically. However, it did make it a much longer process that led to much more editing and tidying up afterwards. I wouldn’t have wanted to write to them any differently as they worked for the story I was telling and my motivations at the time, but I wanted to see what plotting was like.

With the book I’m currently writing, I spent more time working out the story using some structures to plan where it would start and end as well as key points along the way. I left some areas less planned than others, but I had the main story structure set out before I began writing.

And what is it like? Have I taken away all creativity in my writing by structuring it first? Actually, no! If anything, it’s allowed me the freedom to be more creative within the story, as without having to think about where the story is heading as I write, I can focus on making each scene more detailed and interesting (I hope!), as well as taking the time to see the journey itself rather than continually trying to work out where I am on the map and the direction I should be going (or getting lost and trying to find the path again!).

For any writers out there curious about the different ways of writing, I recommend trying