what i know

What I learned about writing this week is that you can research and plot and plan and outline and do all the preparation in the world, but when you actually start writing – that’s when you start to work out what your story is all about.

I’ve got my novel broken down scene by scene – a piece of work which took ages to do – but now I’m just looking at it and thinking, nope. That is not going to fly. That is not how this thing goes.

It’s just crazy how much you don’t know until you sit down and write. This novel is my major project for my MA and I’ve done everything ‘right’ – done everything I’ve been told to do – for what may be the first and only time in my life. But it’s come out all wrong. Because it’s only in the writing that the story reveals itself to you.

6 Replies to “what i know”

  1. Ha. It’s not terrible. It means that I have to re-do substantial chunks of the scene breakdown and synopsis. But the novel I’m writing is a much, much better novel (I think!) than the one I’ve plotted out, so that can only be a good thing.

  2. Writing always strikes me as a process of discovery. Same with drawing, painting, sculpture, etc. You start with something, however vague, in mind.. But as soon as you put down the first sentence, the first line, the first brush stroke — as soon as the first chip flakes off, it invariably takes on a life of its own. Sometimes it’s better than what you imagined, oftentimes it mocks the original spark of inspiration…but it’s the mutual exploration that makes the effort worthwhile. So I’m a pantser, and proud of it.

  3. That surprises me, Henry. Had you down as a plotter. I’ve always been a pantser, for much the same reasons as you describe, but this course forces me to be a plotter, as this is seen to be the right, proper, and correct way of doing things. I’m hoping some elements of plotting will come to seem relevant and useful to me in the future.

  4. So true! Now I’m stuck in editing the second draft of my first novel and I would add that I have discovered the editing process is not so much fixing as rewriting!

    Good luck with the MA project.

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