Wow! These blog chain posts just seem to come faster and faster. For today, Eric brings us this fabu question:

When was the last time you just sat down and started writing, with nothing but a whisper of an idea to guide you?  Did you find it easy to do or did you find yourself struggling for a more organized story?

Nice! This is so appropriate for me right now, knee-deep in a major rewrite/revision. As most of you know, I am NOT a pantser – not really. I like to outline briefly, usually after writing a scene or two from the story that has been mulling around in my head for weeks or months.

But with my current project, TRANSCEND, I did not outline in any form. In fact, at the request and very insistent urgings of my CPs, I pants the whole darn thing. I must say, while this was the right thing for me to do in order to get over a major writing hump, the process was insane…especially as I am now rewriting.

Yes, there is something freeing about just sitting down and writing – something magical. But, for me, having to spend a year or more on revisions is not what I want to do.

So, I “think” I’ve come up with a compromise – something that incorporates the freeing magic that occurs with spontaneously writing and still enables the organizer/editor in me to establish a little structure early on…

Creative outlining (or something)

First, as the whispers start, I zero in on the character and do several quick writes. These are spontaneous writing exercises that enable to lock into the voice of the character (s) and discover the emotional motivation for the story. In fact, it’s the exercises that often reveal the plot and subplots of the story, as well as the emotional arc.

Then, once I have discovered the main characters, the problem, and as much as I can from the quick writing exercises, I get to work plotting. I go through the major beats of the story and quickly outline scene ideas.

Then I start writing.

This is basically what I’ve done on the rewrite of TRANSCEND. And you know what – it seems to be working. My best guess is that it’ll work with a mere whisper too. I guess time will tell on that one.

What about you? When do you start writing the story?

For more on the topic, you can check out Laura’s post a few days ago and Abby’s post tomorrow.

And just a reminder – I am drawing the name of a random commenter this week and sending them some fabu bookish swag as part of my launch party madness. Will it be you?


8 thoughts on “Blog Chain: Listening to the Whisper…

  1. I’m such a pantser–but you’re right. I end up spending years on revisions.

    I do have a new idea brewing and I’ve written a few chapters, but I think, this time, I’m going to try a rough outline before blazing ahead. We’ll see ….


  2. I’ve tried to outline the story when I first started writing novels. It seemed as if I was writing in a mechanical manner. So I’m glad you found a process that works. I’m a complete panster now. When I’m really into the story, it might take me three months to write.

  3. I agree that pantsing a story can lead to lots of revisions afterward. The free writing exercises you describe seem like they’re in the middle between pantsing and outlining.

  4. Interesting. I definitely fall into the “not a pantser” crowd myself. However, my WIP has been pulling shenanigans on me and forcing to diverge from my carefully plotted outline. I’m about to embark on some hang-loose writing that both terrifies and excites the…erm… pants off me. :p

  5. This is usually how I come to stories–I hear that whisper and start to write. Usually the whisper produces a chapter or two at most. But then I need to step back and at least loosely outline (STC style) before I can really move forward. 🙂 Yay for Transcend!

  6. What a great idea for getting into the voice of the character before starting the real writing! When I get an idea I usually bring the character into the Cafe ( to learn who they and any secrets they might tell, and then I storyline through the novel from start to finish (and write notes on stickies if something is especially good!). Once I feel like I have a handle on it all I start the writing.

    But I always end up having to rewrite anyways 😛

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