Thursday, February 12, 2009

Memo to self: Clean your desk

When Katie Cushman and I went to see prolific author Karen Kingsbury last year, we ended up chatting with her about how she cranks out books (seemingly) every other day. From what I understand, she's a 'pre-writer', someone who gets the story as together as possible before sitting down and cranking it out at a nearly non-stop pace. The incredible Susan Meissner has taught on how she pre-writes as well.

Other writers are more SOTP -- seat of the pants. They work on the chapters from the getgo to get a sense of the characters, often stopping and revising along the way.

I started off as SOTP and have morphed into a sort of mix. I really love to write the first chapter even with limited info at my finger tip because when I do this, I often come away surprised! For example, in my current WIP, someone I planned on bringing in much later in the book decided to show up--and it worked. Kristin Billerbeck said in an interview once that she free writes several chapters to get a feel for her characters.

However, I've found though that once I get those first thoughts onto the page, I need to map out more of the details to help me stay on course. I tried story boarding with post-its, but that was just a big mess. I've also tried diagramming the story on paper, complete with arrows, circles and curly-cues, but then I never looked at the thing again.

So now I outline the old fashioned way, in writing, block by block. Sometimes those blocks must move or morph or be stricken, but since I'm not a legalist about it, that's fine by me.

Of course, some habits haven't completely faded away. That pic at the top is of my desk in its current state (although as I like to say, "I know where everthing is!"). Despite my move toward more organization in writing, my desk just hasn't read the memo.


Tracy said...

Julie, your desk and mine look like they could be related! ;-) I try to keep it clutter-free though, I really do!

Thanks for the tips here. As a new writer, I'm trying to find what works best for me. In Nov. I competed in NaNoWriMo for the first time, and having decided to on Oct. 30th, I can say I definately went SOTP style. Now I'm trying to clean up my mess! LOL It's really helpful to me when I read about other writers styles, struggles and victories. Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

Julie Carobini said...

Good for you for completing the NaNoWriMo, Tracy! It's important to discover YOUR own style, and you really can't do that unless you just dig in and get to work. So congrats--now clean your desk, Lol...

lynnrush said...

Nice. I'm soooo a SOTP writer. I'll sit and pound out words not knowing where my characters are going, then, when i go back, I pull it all together and flesh everything out.

I think I'd give an plotter, outliner, and basically your organized person a stroke! LOL.

But hey, every writer has their own style. Whatever works for them. **smile**