As a reader, I have always wondered how writers organize their thoughts, how they keep the plot going, and how they write on a subject they know little about. Do they have a set time of day to write? what happens when a writer loses in inspiration?
To all the writers, published or not, could you reveal how you do it???
Thank you so much for posting this question, Kasey. I have a qualified answer for you, since I wrote and published a workbook called THE TRAIN-OF-THOUGHT WRITING METHOD: Practical, User-Friendly Help for Beginning Writers, which outlines a very basic and simple method of working through all those organizational questions. But I also want to ad that, on occasion, I deviate completely from that method and run with what seems to work best for the particular story I'm writing at the moment. My most recent novels are done from various characters' points of view, with several stories interweaving together in each book. I will also say, however, that I never attempted anything like that in my early days of writing, sticking with a more basic format for many years. To be honest, these recent books have been "fly by the seat of my pants" books, with no outlines or cue cards or anything to work from, other than a starting and ending point, and a "let's see what unfolds in between" approach for the rest.
Blessings to you, Kasey!
Your book sounds very helpful. I'll try getting it from my library!!!
Hi, Kasey! I usually let the story develop in my head over time. With my recently released book, The Healer's Apprentice, I did a lot of research, which also gave me ideas to add to my story. Once I get past the first 50 pages, I usually pick up steam and write the story pretty fast. I have young kids so I write while they are at school, mostly. At night I'm usually too tired to do any serious writing.
When a writer loses inspiration, I guess they have to either regroup--get brainstorming help from friends--or start on a new project. Sometimes if I'm feeling uninspired I will go back and do some revising on the pages that I've already written and it will inspire me to continue with the story. But I'm usually pretty driven when I'm working on a story. :-)
I just love to write! I feel like I was born to do this, and God is right there with me when I'm writing. It's a wonderful thing! :-)
Great question and lots of good answers here. I used to wonder how others did it and spent lots of time reading and asking successful writers their secrets. I simply pay my children to write all my stories. It gives me free time to read and nap. If they get stuck on a plot point I tell them to go ask their mother.
Of course I'm kidding. But it would certainly would be easier if I could pay someone else to do this.
As for me, a nonfiction Christian writer, I write primarily from my own life experiences and perspectives, so I really don't have to make outlines. The story comes to me all at one time in my head and I just have to type it out. I don't force myself to write a few words each day; I only write when I'm inspired to do so and it all spills out.
Lori A. Moore, Author
From Zero to Christian in Just 35 Years
Hi Kasey! In answer to your question--there are probably as many ways to write as there are writers in the world. :) I outline first, using Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method, then research all the questions I come up with during the outlining process (though somehow I always manage to end up with more questions once I start writing), then write a first draft. I do all this in a program called Scrivener, which helps writers to organize their research and scenes/chapters/whatever units one chooses to write in. After I finish the first draft, I put it away and ignore it for a month--or at least as long as I'm able to take. Then I print it up and read it with pen in hand, because I find I edit much more thoroughly on paper than on the screen.
Losing inspiration is SCARY. Especially when you're on deadline. Depending on how tight the deadline is, I might give myself a day away (typically I write M, Tu, Th, F from 12:30-5:30). If it's a tight deadline, like I have right now (35 more scenes to write by January 1!) I pray, hard, that God would make the words come. :) Sometimes he says yes, sometimes he says no, but regardless of what he says I stay in the chair and do my best to keep putting words down, even if they're awful, or I'll go back to scenes I've already written and read through them--sometimes doing that gets me back in the right frame of mind and the story starts unfolding again.
Where do you get the program Scrivener??? Do they have a website???
Thank you for your input!!!
In a word, slowly. Seriously, when I start a book I open a spreadsheet and block in scenes that I think will occur. An example would be: Man goes to store and sees ex-wife, etc. Later, as I'm writing, I'll end-up deleting some of the entires and others will become multiple chapters. The beauty is that chapters can easily be re-arranged and new ones inserted as needed. I would find a detailed outline too restrictive, but you can't start a trip without deciding which direction you're going to drive.
Most of my books have grown out of a single scene. For instance, my novel WITNESS grew out a thought I had at a Christmas Eve service. "What if a little shepherd girl accompanied her father to the stable in Bethlehem?" Well, I knew right away that she'd want to hold the baby Jesus. That germ of an idea has grown into the four-book Seeds of Christianity Series. WITNESS and DISCIPLE are out, and APOSTLE is slatted for next Spring.
The idea of the muse is sometimes over rated. I mean, a plumber never says he can't plumb because the spirit hasn't moved him. I truck driver doesn't wait for inspiriation, he turns that key and heads down the freeway. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth, but you have to soldier on no matter what. Oh, but when the story's flowing there's no better feeling. Peace and Blessing.
Mark Glamack here, author of the award winning and critically acclaimed novel "Littluns: And the Book of Darkness."
When I commit myself to anything, especially for creative purposes like animating, directing and writing, or in this case with regard to being an author, before putting pen to paper so to speak, I organize most of my thoughts and examine the creative, commercial, and business aspects of doing so. Unless you’re very rich and can work for free, you need to be realistic. But there's another side to me: whatever I do, it must be unique, offering something that people can't find anywhere else. I’ve never been interested in status quo, or just telling a story. I must be able to offer much more, or I won’t do it.
I plot my story out chapter by chapter. That doesn't necessarily mean that any of that is written in stone. It does mean that I know where the story is going and from there anything better becomes possible.
If you know nothing or little about the subject you're planning to write about, you better be ready and willing to do the research necessary - reading and understanding before doing any writing.
When I was writing "Littluns" I dedicated 12 to 14 hour days, seven days a week for over three years, and the same for the publishing process, and now marketing. Once I decide to do something, I'm totally committed with an unrelenting full steam ahead.
If you lose inspiration then you didn't have it in the first place. True inspiration found is something that can't be ignored or pushed aside. So follow your bliss, dream BIG dreams, set your standards high, and reach for the stars. Life is too short, as it is, to mess with the small stuff and just floating through life. Never, ever get old and find yourself looking back asking "What if."
Here’s one example of inspiration found that began with God asking me to write “Littluns.”
BLOG: http://www.littlunsblog.com This site has the most information about "Littluns."
WEBSITE: http://www.littluns.net This site is where you can see a 50 second video that I also animated and directed, and a sample chapter.
Hello book club!
I write through inspired moments of my day. I continue to marvel at what God throws in my direction. It is either a simple act of my kids, tension in my household or work life or something someone says to me. All my good writings come from above.
When I try to write to write I usually get a lot of information but no real direction. When I submit myself to God's direction He opens my eyes to what He wants said. Then the juices flow and the story comes together.
God Bless in your journey,
Orlando Javien Jr., Author
I have to have the whole story in my head. I create while I am living, and then when I sit down at the computer. I write. But I must have the basic scenes first or I am lost. I can't create something out of nothing, so I guess I am a plotter.