Friday 500 – Update Two.

typewriter

At around week eight of the writing challenge I’m undertaking with my friend Kate, I realised something.

Something big.

Something I probably should have realised a long, long time ago.

No, not that I can’t write (although I really do wonder sometimes).

It’s that I write like a reader. By that I mean the story that appears on the page is just as much of a surprise to me as if I were reading it rather than writing it.

On occasions I’ve planned, or tried to, but even then it’s very fluid. While I often have an ending in mind, the details of how to get there are quite often missing, which is obviously not ideal.

Having had this great revelation, you might assume that I went away and meticulously planned my latest work.

Not so.

I just can’t seem to do it. It’s like I don’t want to know what will happen next in case it spoils it. Huh?

Maybe that means I am destined to be a reader rather than a writer?

page-numbers-2

On the plus side it does mean that I can change direction quite easily. My story features three main characters, Maddie, Matthew and Anna, but I was writing it from just one point of view to start with. Last week though, as I sat down to write, it was Anna’s voice that popped into my head (do I sound like I’m conducting a seance?). What have I got to lose? I thought and, after consultation with Kate, just went for it. I was quite pleased with the result (Kate said it brought tears to her eyes. Hopefully she meant in a good way.) but it meant re-writing the first two chapters so now each of them has a voice, taking it in turns.

It’s been rather exciting.

I go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. I’ve been Googling things such as “temperature in LA in October”, “California bush fires”, “private jet hire” and
“flight time from LA to Nepal”. This has caused all sorts of interesting things to pop up on Facebook adverts – most often cheap flights to Nepal, which I would be very tempted by, if I could fly. (Incidentally, did you know it’s possible to get from Europe to Nepal overland? Just in case you were thinking of a trip you could plan for your 50th birthday in 10 years time.)

Anyway, the only thing missing is time to actually write, which is also why there haven’t been many blog posts this week.

Are you a planner? What do you get out of it? Besides an actual story.

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25 thoughts on “Friday 500 – Update Two.

  1. So I am a bit half and half! I try to have a plan, mainly because I have a whole concept of my story, but inevitably I often get taken round the houses too. I have always loved reading (by the way how do you get through so many books – I keep seeing your reviews pop up!?!) and wanting to write stems from that I think, but I have definitely found that there is so much more to think about when you are writing a story compared to reading one. When I am in the writing zone, my brain is constantly turning things over, but the zone isn’t always where I am… xx

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    1. I can understand that. Reading has definitely made me want to write but I often question whether I can actually do it. (I read really fast but also I have been known to get up at 4.30am to finish a book and stay up way beyond my bedtime, too.) I wonder if I would find it easier if I did have more than a synopsis in my head but then worry that if it doesn’t, that’s it.

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  2. I don’t plan anything in my life and that certainly extends to writing. If something pops up in my head I will make the effort to scroll/flick ahead to note it down but that’s as far as it goes.
    I quite like to go with the flow. 😊

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  3. Hi Tara, that actually sounds like a good way to write a book because it’s from inside you. Being a reader must help dictate the way your story is flowing, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I did start (to write) a book many moons ago and got quite far in before my brain caved. I’m not very good at planning and thinking and get easily confused. Which is why I try not to read the same type of book consecutively.

    I think that answers your question. I’m not really a planner. I would describe myself as more of a loose planner, with intentions, but one that easily gets swayed by life.

    Thank you for linking up to the #MMBC.

    xx

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    1. Do you think you’ll ever pick up writing your book again, Debbie? Maybe you just needed a nice long rest from it? I think I’d describe myself as a loose planner too, especially now 🙂

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  4. This is rather interesting and I’m going out on a limb to say writing like a reader is the best technique! Tara, do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction? As a young child, fiction is what I loved and I made up stories all the time. Now I like writing about real life, my life and everything around me. I don’t plan as I write, I just do it. I think that’s my secret of getting it done and having no writers block. Good luck with your book!😉

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  5. Interesting post, and I love how into your story you are, I definitely think that’s the way it should be. I mapped my novel out chapter by chapter (wrote a few sentences each time), and also gave every character an identity, which was helpful. Ultimately though I don’t think you can plan too much… going with the flow is always exciting when it comes to writing. Best of luck lovely 🙂 #whatimwriting

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    1. Thank you, Renee. I do think I need to map a little more otherwise I know I won’t finish. As it is I have to keep going backwards and forwards to change things when I could just plough on.

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  6. Ah ha! A fellow ‘pantser’! I threw myself into my novel with no plan at all… which may be why it’s unfinished. hmm. Mind you, I also write picture books, the first of which just flowed out one afternoon just using the prompt ‘books’. The story was a total surprise, as was even the idea of writing a picture book at that point. Since then I’ve written four more (without much planning) and have ended up studying illustration because I got the urge to illustrate my own writing and now I’ve just done my first illustration commission for a book. So… who knows where following your ‘reader’s style’ of writing might take you! It’s fun isn’t it? Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting – welcome to our community! xx

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  7. So I plan stuff, lots of it, but then I get surprised anyway and have to change plans because they no longer work. I also find massive holes in my planning when I realise I don’t know something I need to, and filling that gap changes what went before. It’s fun, but confusing too! I love it when you’re in the zone of thinking about it all the time. Have fun.

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  8. I can totally identify with the random internet searches… One of my favourite parts of writing! I generally find myself identifying as a planner – particularly for longer pieces. Though what I end up with is like a roadmap and then the details surprise me as I go along – and may well influence me to change my route. I think that’s part of what keeps it fresh though. Trying to write 90,000 words when you knew exactly what was coming would be a bit tedious… Hope you’re hanging to find more time to write this week! xx

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