Friday, January 25, 2013

Writing: A Different Route

As I write this, we're just finishing a multi-day experience with plumbers jack-hammering holes in the concrete slab of our house to repair a leak in a sewer pipe. Fortunately, our kitchen and one of our bathrooms remains usable during the experience, but because we're creatures of habit, we've had to learn a new path--around the construction--to the bathroom still in operation. Nevertheless, we've adjusted. And that is something novelists do all the time.

Among writers of fiction, there are "plotters" and "pantsers." The former, obviously, plot out their work before starting to write. Others of us (and I include myself here) write "by the seat of our pants."

That doesn't mean that I sit down and just start to write willy nilly. No. First I figure out what the tag line of the book will be. For Stress Test, it was "They may not have enough evidence to convict him of murder, but it's enough to ruin his life." I populate the story, figure out the start and (roughly) the finish, and come up with enough twists along the way to keep it interesting. But all that may (and generally does) change as the story progresses.

We may plan and plot, but as things change, we have to adapt. It's true of novelists. It's true of life. Have there been situations in your life that made you change your path? How did that work out? I'd love to hear.

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