Hah! Second post in less than a week. Told you I’d do better.
Anyway, I was thinking more on the creative process. There are many ways to write a book. Some, like one of my favorite authors, C.J. Cherryh, do an outline first. They then follow the outline as they write, amplifying the “points.” I think this is probably the most efficient way—you know your starting point, you know where you’re going, and you know how you’re going to get there. And if the story changes on you half way there (as it sometimes does), just do another outline incorporating the changes.
Another favorite author, Diana Gabaldon, does not use outlines. What she does is write as the ideas hit, developing scenes in no particular order. When she feels she has enough, she strings what she’s written together in chronological order and then fills in the gaps. This, I think, would be the most fun, writing what you feel like writing until you have a book. Of course, it takes truly knowing your characters and story, and also discipline—to know when (and where) to begin and where (and when) to stop.
Two very successful authors with two wildly different writing techniques.
Me, I do neither. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two. I know the starting point and generally know the ending. The in between, though—the getting from prologue to epilogue—I have no clue until I actually write it. Sometimes it’s logical. If A happens, then B must follow and C is close behind. (One of the reasons I have problems with prequels—do not start me in the middle of the story. Please.) But sometimes it’s not; there was a scene in Covenants where there were three logical outcomes, and I had a hard time deciding which one to choose. So I chose all three, threw them in the pot, and watched the fun bubble up.
And there are times when character will insist on doing things his way. Or hers. Or theirs. They just totally Bogart my story and start telling what they want to tell. Like the way Guardsman Jeffen has just managed to muscle his way past Suiden, Laurel, Wyln and even Rabbit to take center stage. I don’t know how long this will last, but I’ll watch to see what bubbles up next.