Wednesday, September 12, 2018

To plot or not to plot

As an author, I've generally written by the seat of my pants, stopping only when I realize the story isn't going anywhere. I do like diving in without a direction, but even as far back as Living Canvas, I discovered there needs to be a road map. I seem to be needing one sooner in the process these days. While I still like to start out blind to get to know my characters, my companions on the journey, I need to figure out what’s going on before I write too many words. 

As I work on the final EPITAPH installment, I have discovered there’s no shame in plotting. I can still be amused with detours that will undoubtedly happen along the writing process. Plotting/an outline is just a general direction to travel, not the only road to get there! 

Some authors (myself included) like to be surprised while we're writing by an unexpected turn of events, and that can be incorporated into an outline simply by adding "something bad happens here." That leaves the road open for creativity and subconscious cues that come from the characters on the page. 

The answer to the age-old question? In my humble opinion, you can have the best of both worlds. Take along your atlas on that road trip, but be prepared for a detour or an uncharted point of interest. Those unplanned stops are generally what makes the trip the most fun.
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Meanwhile, I have to tell you (cuz I'm SO EXCITED) that the penultimate EPITAPH book is coming out NEXT WEEK! Here's a link for you to buy it now so you don't forget!


  1. After attending a writing conference, I have a lot of new things to try. One of the instructors, James Scott Bell, referred to Plotters, Pantser, and Tweeners. I call myself a "Planster." I can't outline for the life of me, but I have a general idea of where things are going. And congrats on the new release.