Blog on the Bus pt8 (how not to do it)

Good evening dear reader.
The subject of my post this fair evening will be focused solely on guidance to would-be writers out there. Despite this, if you’ve stopped by to catch up on my bus adventures in Southampton (or even if you got here because you pressed the wrong button in error) stick around as you might find something that inspires you to pick up a pencil and write.
If you have never written or have recently started writing and are scouring the Internet (like a brillo pad wading through grease) for guidance on where to begin, then I’m happy to share my approach with you. You will find hundreds of authors out on that world wide spider’s web who will delight in TELLING you how to do it. I’m not one of those people. I won’t lie and tell you’ve I’ve discovered THE method of writing that will guarantee you book sales. I will, however, tell you HOW I do it so you can sample a different pov.
My strength is in my planning and structuring. When I get an idea I scribble it down in about 300words. I then leave it for a few days / weeks and then go back and rewrite it but with more meat on the bones (ie I plan my main scenes and key twists). Most of my stories are set over several days so it is here where I plan what will happen on each day. I then leave it again for a few weeks to play those scenes out in my head (I find walking the dog, on my own where it’s quiet, is ideal for this). When I come back to the plot skeleton, and this is only when I feel ready to do so, I start to work out what parts of the story will fit in each chapter. This decides how the main scenes will fit together. This is the most important part of the structuring process as this will shape the story later. I then leave the plot alone again for a few days until my schedule is free to write.
When I’m ready I will glance at what the first chapter looks like ie where it starts and is due to end. Then, with dog lead in hand, I play the scene in my head like a movie. By the time I sit down in front of a keyboard my imagination replays the scene through my fingers. I really do allow my subconscious to guide my fingers and can usually have 2.5k words down within an hour or hour and a half. It really freaks me out when I later read something I’ve written and don’t remember writing it. But that is what happens. My imagination “enters the zone” and takes control of my hands. Do you know what? It’s when I’m at my happiest.
I don’t tend to start editing or re-writing until I’ve completed what I believe will be the final chapter, but then everyone is different.
How you decide to write will be down to you and will be shaped my your behavioural strengths, time and creativity. As I said at the start I use a method that works for me, but then I’ve not yet sold a million books, had a movie or BBC mini series created from my work, so what do I know, right?
I’m sure you’ll find your own way but don’t let yourself be put off by those who tell you the writing market is overcrowded and you’ll never make it. If you enjoy writing then who cares? That’s what I say anyway.
I hope you read and then ignore the advice I’ve given you in the same way as you should ignore the advice of the other authors who tell you what to do. After all, I’m just another passenger on the number-4 bus in Southampton.
Until the next time, happy reading!



2 responses to “Blog on the Bus pt8 (how not to do it)

  1. Interesting. Your style works equally well in non-fiction, although the necessity for research can lead one off on a tangent…one can end up with writing down something quite different to the original.
    Right: what sort of omnibus?

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