Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm losing the plot

I'm not afraid to say that I am not a natural plotter. If you were to put myself and J.K.Rowling on a scale for plotting, we would be on polar opposite ends. Rowling is renowned for her meticulous planning, and there is no doubt that the results are outstanding.

But me - I'm an ENFP. That's a Meyers Briggs personality type that basically means I love being around people, I don't need to see or touch it to believe it and understand it, I make decision with my heart over my head and I fly by the seat of my pants - that's what the 'P' stands for. I would guess Rowling is a strong 'J', organised and a great planner.

Not that I don't plan, well sort of. I conceptualise. Usually the freaky, twisted ending comes to me first. Then I work backwards and develop characters. I actually wrote six pages of notes at the beach the other day for my WIP. That's my planning process.

I've tried plotting. But I get distracted. I prefer to research and daydream, then write a flurry of notes and novel excerpts. It means that sometimes I have a jigsaw puzzle to piece together and that plenty of times I have to go back to an early section of the novel and rewrite to add in foreshadowing for an idea that's just popped into my head. But a full-on plotted chapter by chapter plan = Sharon and writing fail. Just look at the story I attempted to plot in 2006. It's still sitting at about 4,000 words.

Often the ideas come to me while riding, daydreaming at the beach, working out at the gym (I should be going there more often), singing very loudly - and not very well - in my car with the music blaring or while researching. Then I madly scribble it down at the first available opportunity. Boy do I get some funny looks in the showers at the gym.

I let the stories and characters guide me. They take on a life of their own when I write and the story unfolds as I go. I have a basic idea, a skeleton outline and then the rest just seems to write itself.
But this is what works for me. But it may not work for you.

Everyone marches to the beat of their own drum and there is no right or wrong way to let inspiration take hold of you, flow through you and become a story.

Everyone has different ways of getting it done. So how do you do it?Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow?

My Closet

In my virtual closet this week:
Awesome agent: Kathleen Ortiz - Looking for YA romance from a male POV or a steampunk with fantastic world building.
TopTweeter : @Crzywritergrl - Literary intern with great tweets on queries.
Writers Digest Conference wrap up -
True Blood satire:


  1. I'm always amazed to hear how differently peoples' writing processes are!
    I've only written one book, and my experience might end up being different for future books, but for Sin Legacy I did NOT plot. Once I had an idea of who/what the two main characters were, several intense scenes between them came to me and I wrote them down without knowing when or where they were taking place. All of the major moments of chemistry between them were written, and then I wrote the story around those. Sounds weird. I can't say it was the easiest way to write a story, but it worked.
    Happy writing, everyone! No matter how you do it. :) Thanks, Sharon.

  2. Nice work, Sharon!

    Yes, I too am always fascinated with how books are created---often times I'm more interested in the companion books than the actual books! Lol!

  3. Oh my gosh... that all sounds horrendously familiar. I'm a planner by nature, but when it comes to my writing it's all seat of the pants inspiration. I have journals full of notes and pictures I've cut out and playlists that when pieced together in the right order are my books. Anyone else looking at them would be thinking 'whats all this crap?' LOL.

    Great post!


  4. Despite being the kind of person who likes having a plan, I don't outline my stories before writing them. I mean, I write down notes/ideas, so I have some basic guidance, but I like letting my stories take off on their own. Part of the excitement is seeing where the story decides to go and what my characters want or don't want. I also don't tend to write random scenes and then work them in later. I start from the beginning and work toward the end.

  5. I always have to plan my stuff. I put plot points in every chapter before I start to write. I can't just start writing, unless it's a short story, which is probably why those are even more terrible than my books. Ha!

    Great post, Sharon!

  6. JK Rowling plans like a MACHINE. A machine I tell you. I don't think I've ever met anyone who plans the way she does!!
    I'm like you, Sharon.