Intuitive writing or planned to the last detail

My writing retreat at Cape Hillsborough didn’t turn out as planned, but it wasn’t all a loss. I managed to get some words down and a good direction for my book 2 to track on. But on with what I really want to talk about. This is something that has been the cause for much debate at writers’ meetings, and only seemed to prove that different people attack their writing differently.

The question is do you, as a writer, approach your work in a methodical manner, meticulously planning a story or book to its final skeletal details, leaving nothing to chance. Or, do you let the story lead you into its wonderous fabric a step at a time, surprising and delighting you as it weaves its tale – a more intuitive approach?

I tend to be more intuitive in my writing but not entirely. I will sketch out a general framework, then I write along that framework. I love the story to surprise me, and open up its sweet petals to reveal its beauty and complexity. Every writing session is preceded with a reading of what I have put down leading up to that point. I will play my ‘muse’ music that puts me in the mood, and I have illustrations and sketches of characters and places to help me visualise the setting.

Book 2 has quite a different feel about it to the first book, although it is a continuation of the overall story that I had created the framework for so long ago. It is a different mission, which now no longer depends on the singular character to complete. Mirrortac has started the mission, and will finish it, but not alone. He is in a desperate situation that requires helpers, and who better than his own children (childfins) to come to his rescue. He has come into the hands of a hostile tribe on a violent planet, and what’s worse, he can’t remember what brought him there. While the tribe has hailed him as some kind of warrior ‘bear’ that can help them battle their enemies, he still has a mission to complete, and one that won’t make him popular with the tribe. Exciting times ahead!


About mirrortac

Author, editor, nature observer

Posted on February 13, 2012, in Fantasy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. windwhisperwoods

    “illustrations and sketches of characters and places to help me visualise the setting.” ~ Love that idea. Maybe I’ll try that. Great post. I think most people are a little of both: pantsers and plotters ~ some more of one than the other. Sure, there are the purists but I believe we all have a little pantser and a little plotter inside. Pantsing goes against everything you learned as a kid in English comp class, which is why I think it’s a little harder for most to get the hang of, yet, as you have written, it can take you into places you’d never dreamed of when trying to plot and outline.

    Most of us start as plotters then, as we grow as writers, learn to become pantsers. I am just getting to the stage where I’m learning to let go, make mistakes, stop self-editing every sentence and just write. Going off the beaten path (the outline) can be scary at first but as you write, you discover so much that was hidden.

    Right now one of my Works in Progress is a novel in which I have decided to do absolutely no planning. NONE. I just pick up where I left off and go. Let me tell you, it has doubled my word count per day! Words just pour out now and it’s great!

    So, again, great post and keep it up!

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