In writing our story, it’s important to find the right balance between technique and inspiration.
I recently started an online course to learn how to plot a novel. The woman delivering the course has worked out a formula as fail safe as a mathematical equation.
She has spreadsheets, flowcharts and formulas to follow, all of which will lead to a fully planned novel by the due date you set in your Outlook calendar. This lady keeps to a very tight schedule. Her days, weeks, months and even years are planned in advance so that she can produce the required number of novels as per her business plan.
Now, this lady is a successful author and makes a comfortable living from her writing. And she doesn’t have to kill herself in the process. Her working day is done by lunchtime, leaving her free to play computer games for the rest of the afternoon. For her, it’s all about productivity, which she pronounces PRO-ductivity, in her flat, mid-Western monotone.
But what about the magic?
Is there any room here for the alchemy that happens when you get into the flow and your words really start to sing?
I wrote my first novel one bit at a time, literally making it up as I went along. I stuck closely to real life, and while it gave me a template to work from, had some problems of its own. For one thing, there was a little too much realism, as I had written in all the daily dross that has no place in a novel.
Then, I worried about the real life people I had based my characters on. What would they think? What if they didn’t like their portrayal? What if they try to sue me?
These concerns inhibited my writing for some time. I tied myself in knots trying to avoid offending anyone; changing the plot many times until I found the courage to speak my truth. If I had followed a plan, I would have worked all these kinks out before I sat down to write and saved myself a lot of time.
And this is the approach I will take for my second novel. I will start with an outline, mapping out each scene one by one until it’s time to sit down and make the first draft. While I am taking a far more systematic approach the second time around, I hope that I’m not going to miss out on the magic and the fun I had while writing my first novel.
Now you can read the Kama Sutra from beginning to end and learn every technique in the book. But if your heart and soul aren’t in it, then nobody’s having any fun.
In the same way, as writers, we must find a way to become proficient in our craft, without losing any of the magic. #WritingCommunity #AmWriting #AusWrites #WritersLife