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Shop talk (anything and everything on writing)

Off-road writing

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Did I tell you I was writing a book? It must be 20 years or so since I lay back on the old chaise longue, put my hand to my furrowed brow and began scratching away.  Have you tried it? (Have you been at the gin? Ed). Anatomically impossible, unless the dog holds your notebook. Plus the pink feather boa gets in the way.

So here I am clattering at the keyboard and I have to admit that all my best laid plans have gone totally agley. Like, totally. All that stuff I said about planning? Out the window. Plotting? Likewise. I mean, I made a plan. I made a jolly good one, with everything that was going to happen in each chapter all down for me to follow. But now that I’ve actually started scribbling, nothing has gone to plan at all.

My characters have stayed pretty much the same. The hero is still the drop dead gorgeous man I envisaged, although rather more ruthless than I had bargained for, if yesterday’s draft is anything to go by, but he keeps I keep changing his identity (Poor background or rich background? Texas oilman, or war hero? Or both? I spect I’ll find out eventually). Heroine has remained pretty much the same too, just not quite such a drip. So that’s all right.

The thing is, that as I write, new and exciting vistas open up, that hadn’t occurred to me when I was just thinking. So I take a sharp left or right off my highway, without a map. I have no idea what is going to happen, but it’s exciting and, really, to me, that’s the whole joy of writing fiction.

Remember that foolproof plotting sheet that I dug out of somewhere? The one showed you how your plot should progress? Strangely enough my new direction (so far) fits in with all those rules, just in a different way.

Anyway, I’m off. Got writing to do.

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About elainecanham

I started blogging because I'm a writer, and I thought I ought to. Now I realise that I blog because I like to; even when I can't think of much to say.

Discussion

16 thoughts on “Off-road writing

  1. I am filled with awe and admiration that you write M&B. I tried and failed several times – it’s an art I’ll never master.

    Posted by helen meikle's scribblefest | June 16, 2014, 1:30 am
  2. Sometimes not having a plan is a damn good plan.
    Enjoy the process, Elaine. You never know how blissful it can become. 🙂

    Posted by peakperspective | June 15, 2014, 9:33 pm
  3. When I was creating my novel I would leap out of bed excitedly every morning, wondering what the characters would do that day. It was such fun watching them run/ruin the plot this way and that. I especially enjoyed killing them off. Now the novel is finished and everyone is dead. I’m a bit lost. May I borrow your boa?

    Posted by Bruce Goodman | June 15, 2014, 7:13 pm
  4. Hey, this Jools isn’t me!
    Two questions.
    a) how drunk did you get at the romantic wotsits tea dance?
    b) can we have a nice tuxedo in this one, please?

    Posted by Jools | June 15, 2014, 4:17 pm
  5. I admire anyone who can stick even quarter ways to a plan. My plans laugh in my face. They’re bitter & mean little prunes, my plans. Which is why I end up having to ignore them.

    Posted by Tara Sparling | June 15, 2014, 3:42 pm
  6. “The hero is still the drop dead gorgeous man I envisaged, although rather more ruthless than I had bargained for,”

    We all have a dark side. Perfect characters are boring. 🙂

    Posted by lbwoodgate | June 15, 2014, 1:17 pm
  7. I thought I would make an effort to plot more diligently for my second (attempt at a) novel, but reading your post, I’m not so sure that’s such a good idea any more! 🙂

    Posted by Jools | June 15, 2014, 10:57 am
    • I dunno. Each to his own. I still think its a good idea to start with a plan, just so that you have the confidence to start writing. How did your planning work for your first book?

      Posted by elainecanham | June 15, 2014, 11:02 am
    • Not bad. The final order of the events in the story was much as it had started out. But I learned so much about conflict, tension, motivation, pace etc as I wrote, that the overall tempo and balance between scenes altered a lot. I also developed an important piece of back-story which hadn’t featured at all in my planning, only coming out following a tutor session on one of the courses I attended. I was in full-on learn-as-you-go mode throughout!

      Posted by Jools | June 15, 2014, 1:16 pm

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