Thursday, March 01, 2007

You're supposed to plot?

"I'd love to write a book" a colleague said today "I just wouldn't know where to start".


"No, me neither" I said.


"But how do you do it, then? You must know. You write."


"Dunno really," I said after a long think "I sort of know more how I don't do it.


For a long time I was a bit embarrassed about my writing habits. Since I've been blogging I have found that it takes all sorts, so here is my take on my writing methods!


1. What's a plot? I don't.

2. I write the last line first and make a vague attempt to work towards it, but often this changes as the plot grows itself.

3. Inspiration can come from the back of a cereal packet, a chance remark or an odd fact I came across. The Diva Jaspari grew from a song by Antony and the Johnsons.

4. I often write two things at once - currently writing Natural Magick (a sequel to Coven of One), also re-writing Capricorn Wind, and just started growing a new one (?).

5. I research as I go along and get distracted for hours at a time. Finding suitable herbal remedies for 'Coven' led me to some really interesting work on bunions in the twelfth century.

6. I keep a notebook for each novel with vital information in it, timelines, dates, relationships, lists of characters etc.

7. I often wake in the middle of the night with a new paragraph laid out in my head. I learnt to put a pen and paper next to the bed but sometimes the call is so strong that I have to get up and write.

8. If there was no one, or nothing else to stop me, I would write for days at a time. When I have run dry with a novel I use poetry or a short story to kick start me again. Blogging has the same effect except I now blog in what I would call my coffee breaks - hah!

9. While I write I am living that book.

10. I adore every twist and turn, every plot problem, hurdle and headache that writing a book brings. I am only sad when I get to the last chapter and often put it off for a few days because I can't bear it to end.



Lost the plot - where the hell is it?

23 comments:

The Moon Topples said...

I was recently asked how to go about writing a novel, and I replied that you write 50,000-100,000 words and then see if you like it.

I think it was assumed that I was kidding. I don't think I was.

Cailleach said...

That's it: 'While I write I am living that book.' That's how I feel when I write, or when I'm reading a book that really grips me.

Minx said...

I used to get pissed off on courses when people talked about character motivation. Of course I know what motivates them, they are me!

Btw, at present I am sailing around the world in an ice ship - cool eh?

Roberta said...

I can not stand structure of any kind. Writing classes have left me cold. Explaining my craft has left me confused.

I know I can write, a bit. I know I have a gift, a bit...I think I lack ambition and concentration.

Love your hair and that's a great shot, by the way.

Saaleha said...

I agree with Roberta on the courses/conferences. It seems to assume that everyone functions in the same way. I attended an online conference last year. It was the most tedious thing ever. Not all books have lots of dialogue. Literary fiction certainly does not. NOT all writers work in the same way. Really, like all things in life, writing is a hugely personal thing.

Minx said...

Hair is very important to writing, Roberta. Something to play with when you have run out of snacks, is essential.
Missing from the picture, are my glasses, which sit on my head, playing at being lost.

pundy said...

That IS a good snap, Minx. I'm puzzled, though. You still look glamorous of course, but somehow different from the way you look in your other two photographs. I'm not sure what it is. Less sophisticated, maybe?

Debi said...

Cor - sophisticated. I can hardly spell it.

Minx said...

Yes, of course, Pund. I don't wear me tiara day to day and the ciggy holder is just out of shot. The finger, however, is very much in evidence though - I never leave that one out!

L>T said...

I'm so glad you're not Audrey Hepburn. That's a great picture of you BTW, you look like a writer!

Believe it or not, I've written a couple of stories. Horrid I'm sure.
Maybe I'll post one of them on my blog. :)

Minx said...

Oh dear, now I'm worried. What does a writer look like?

I am, of course, tres sophisticated - I was having a day off when the snap was taken!

Atyllah said...

Yep, you sound like you write like I do. Except I start with the first line and see where it will lead me.
Writing organically, I call it. Makes for a jolly good adventure. Who needs real life when there's a story begging to be told.

Nice piccie - tres sophisticated and serious.

Marie said...

Thanks for sharing this, Minx.

Minx said...

It is good to share, Marie. I am feeling quite lierated tonight - but that might be the gin! Organic, of course.


Oh, and there's another blognapping going on - thinly disguised as a party. So hop over to 'Wordcarving' and bring some dips, booze, loud music and a party game and please make sure you have done your hair- we have standards!

mutleythedog said...

I really like this blog - Ms Minx if you are interested you can look at my profile for my other blog where you will find a short story. Love to hear what you think, don't worry theres no obligation or rush!

Minx said...

Thank you, Mutley, and I return the compliment - even if your blog is mad, bad and dangerous to know!!

I don't feel obliged and I never rush (I live in Cornwall, remember, and we never do anything that might disturb a nap). On me way after another gin......

L>T said...

What does a writer look like? First of all brainy & then pensive & very very sophisticated.

Minx said...

Brainy!! Wetting me knickers here!

Debi said...

Useful tip: carry spare knickers in that handbag of yours, dear sofisticat.

Minx said...

I do, but I didn't like to mention it - seemed a bit icky to admit to carrying five pairs of spare knickers!

Debi said...

5 pairs???? Maybe swop them for a bucket ...

Minx said...

Or a cork?

Debi said...

No! You'll explode, darling. Horribly messy ...