Have an Umbrella? From Drizzle to Deluge

Late last year I decided to allow for more spontaneity in every aspect of my life in 2008. Some would deem this a resolution, but I prefer calling this a new approach or outlook. Instead of resorting to advanced planning I’d let Life surprise me from time to time. Go figure. The moment I let down my guard, Life turned nasty over the past several days. All was going along smoothly and then—Wham—certain events threatened to veer me off course in a major way. I was thankful I hadn’t lost my fondness of contingency plans. The resulting reality check—no matter how much I want to slacken my grip on those proverbial reins, I can’t toss them aside for extended periods of time. Remaining flexible, while recalling and utilizing past successful strategies, is the best way for me to navigate emergencies and devastating news or events. This also holds true for my writing. Sometimes freestyle works well, sometimes a more choreographed method works better.

For the past seven years I’ve been writing full-time. Over those years, my process has changed and morphs with each story written. In the beginning, I surrendered completely to my creativity and didn’t use plotting sheets or a white board. Before I wrote the first sentence, I knew the story’s beginning and ending and some of the rising action scenes, but I didn’t script anything formally. On reflection, that process didn’t work and cost me more time during the self-editing of subsequent drafts. Currently I prefer plotting most of the scenes in advance, but I allow for spontaneity and don’t mind tossing out scenes already jotted in favor of ones that work better for the plot and/or characterization.

What about you? Are you an advance planner, a go-with-the-flow type, or a person who favors an approach somewhere in between?

Feel the heat in erotic fiction,

Shawna Moore
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
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Elen Grey said...

Bummer. I just made a comment and Blogger ate it. I'll try this again.

--Feel the heat in erotic fiction,--

Oh. I like that!

My lifestyle dictates flexibility. But, I'm a Virgo. I like a plan. Making a list...checking it twice. Meshing the two has required patience. :-)

When writing, I always start with character. Plot comes next. I have an oar in both waters. Sometimes I'm mist. Sometimes I'm planner. Usually, I'm plotting several scenes ahead. When I'm writing those scenes, I'm plotting several scenes ahead. That's my process of the moment. Does that make sense?

ShawnaMoore said...

Hi, Elen!

Cyber space loves gobbling comments, doesn't it? Thanks for persevering and posting!

Your process makes complete sense. I totally agree about having a process of the moment. My process changes with each story written. And I'll never be someone who can completely let go and say whatever happens, happens, when it comes to life. No way. This day and age, that approach wouldn't be wise. I must have somewhat of a master plan and at least one backup. When it comes to my writing, I'm a lot more flexible. Anything to keep those characters happy :)

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Never footloose,


Vonda Sinclair said...

Hi Shawna, super blog entry!! I would have to say I'm somewhere in the middle. I plan some things (in life and in books) and let other things occur by happy accident. In my writing I consider myself a hybrid plotter/pantser. I like to plan out the big events so I know the direction I'm going. But the little things that happen along the way just happen and that's the fun part. Without the bit of plotting for guidance first though, I'd be running in circles.

ShawnaMoore said...

Hey Vonda!

Here's to those hybrid plotting approaches! The only time I want to be going around in circles is when I'm dancing the night away :) Hope you have a fabulous week, and thanks for sharing more about your writing process :)


Carol Ericson said...

I like to start with a general plan. I especially like to know who my characters are before I start. I've used the Perini/Baker Discovering Story Magic approach for a while, and I love it. Then once I start writing, the story and characters sometimes take off in different directions, and I go with the flow.

ShawnaMoore said...

Hi, Carol!

Definitely, characters delight in taking off in different directions. Going in their direction is the best course possible :) As I'm typing, I'm glancing at the Perini/Baker cassette tape you referenced in your post. This is a fantastic reference :)

Thanks for providing us a peek at your process :)

Have a great weekend :)