Wednesday, January 14, 2015

To Plan Or Not To Plan - That Is The Question...

Being a writer, I've tried to make my books and stories as good as they're ever going to get - before I hand them to another set of eyes (or two) and get somebody else's opinions and ideas of what I can do to improve - or remove - to make my work better.

However, have you ever wondered if a writer plans their work?  Can you see it in their books if they plan it or does it look and feel as effortless as a bird flying, a fish swimming?  Sometimes, I can see where a writer plans a book; and it kind of wrecks it for me... as I can see where the changes and moves are going to be in the writing.  However, when I come across a writer who doesn't plan, it's fun and I don't have expect anything from them.  It's enjoyable to jump in and just read their material and be surprised in the most unexpected ways, at the most unusual times with the most interestingly wonderful ways.

I don't plan my work.  What I do is that I get an idea for something.  This could take me weeks to get my head around from the moment I get the idea to actually sitting down and writing it.  My characters start out as ordinary, everyday looking and working people... they are just like your next door neighbours.  They've been selected already, have lives, likes, loves, hates, flaws and are all different from each other in all kinds ways.  Some of them like each other, some of them hate each other, but I gather them together in the one spot, tell them the plot, throw them into a situation and then close the door to their reality on them and watch them from a distance.  They normally turn on me first... telling me I'm nuts.  I tell them to show me how they're going to get out of their first situation - then I wait. 

They don't have a choice.  They are being told what to do and that there is a way out (I know the way out, but I'm not telling them the easy way) and usually, I find that one of them knows the easy way and the others let him go to find the easy way out and he/she gets killed/kidnapped/disappears/gets out... while the others are stuck there still on the starting blocks trying to figure a way out.  
As they go through their own trials and tribulations, I get into their heads, work on their problems and they learn a few lessons on what it's like to be who they are in my story.  And they come out the other side of this whole thing with new skills, new ideas and new feelings about each other and themselves.  They all learn new things about how to be around the place I had created too.

That's me not planning my stories.

I have tried planning my books and it all falls apart within about 3 pages.  

So, what do you do as a writer - if you do write? - and how does it affect your overall work?  I love to not plan as it keeps my writing fresh, and helps my characters grow naturally into who they are.  Well, until my next post, keep reading & writing!

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