Wednesday, 12 March 2014

What kind of writer are you? I'm a scattergun.

I'm half way through writing a novel and when I tell people how I'm writing it they think I'm crazy.

For starters, I don't sit and plan every chapter. Instead, I start with an idea. This can be the premise of the book i.e. woman is accused of murdering her boyfriend who she knows isn't even dead.

Then I just run with it, using the scattergun method of writing.

In other words, I write whatever I'm driven to write. This can be a scene from any part of the book.

Sometimes I have the ending before I have the second chapter.

The upside of this method, is two fold -
1. that I never get bored, so I don't think the reader will either
2. my writing is crispier and fresher because I'm not forcing my writing

Of course, there's a major downside -
eventually I will get to the point where I have to write a certain part; to connect up the dots. Writing those bits can be hard, but then writing is hard. You've got to bleed onto the paper.

The scattergun method might not be to everybody's taste, but it works for me. And you've got to stick with whatever works for you, because there are so many methods that don't work.

If I had a penny for every time someone said "I'm going to write a novel" who didn't, I'd be a millionaire.

So, what kind of writer are you? 


  1. I plan - a bit. If I don't have an idea where I'm going I might never get there. My plans aren't rigid though, if I come up with something I think is better, I'm happy to change them.

  2. Pasty, I've tried so many different ways to write, I'm just glad I've finally found one that works:) Writing myself post it note cues also helps.

  3. I enjoy connecting the dots because that's where the 'fun' stuff is created :)

    1. I think your right, Steven:) Sometimes though, I stumble over plot lines.

  4. Connect-the-dot method of writing. I'm writing the last three books first in a five-book series. The first two were inspired by and planned by two separate dreams I had, so it isn't as well-detailed as the last three. The last three were almost completely daydreamed (home school gave me extra free time + mostly daydreamed at night). Although I can't remember every detail of the daydreams, the most important parts are scattered around like connect-the-dots. So, all I have to do is make lines in between them. And since each dot (important event in the story) has its own number and place (where in the story it takes place, whether after or before another event), I just have to make lines that are straight enough in between them and not all over the place/crooked (smaller events that lean towards other possible major events/endings or that are not confusing). My biggest problem is making the whole image bigger than it ought to be (making the story too long). But that will come later when I take out extra, unneeded stuff (revising, editing, and proofreading).

  5. Good luck, Jennifer with your 5 book series. I'm writing the 3rd in a series and know how tough it can be,

  6. The first book I wrote started as a single idea and it snowballed from there. It's mutated into at least three books, maybe more. All of them have been written off the top of my head, very much seat of the pants style. The novel I wrote last month for NaNoWriMo I experimented with and actually wrote an outline for it. Once I had the outline, it was like the book wrote itself and has spawned at least three potential sequels.

    1. That's great, Brett. I always think that if I know what's happening next, so will the reader.


DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

One lost girl. A bus full of secrets -'My new WIP

One lost girl. A bus full of secrets - My new WIP #amwriting