Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Pure Pleasure of Writing Fiction

I remember my astonishment when I found that Steven King was what we authors call a ‘panters’. He sits at his computer and with a scene, a character, a thought, he starts a book, with no idea where he’s going. In other words, he writers ‘by the seat of his pants’. Sherrilyn Kenyon does the same.

I have a good friend who has written dozens of books, both suspense and romance. She always has the beginning of the book in mind when she starts and she knows exactly what will happen at the end, but the middle is a blank for her.

Then, there are authors like me. I start with a detailed outline and character interview sheets so I know what motivates my story people. I have a good idea what they look like, even how they sound. Then, because I usually write historicals I spend weeks on research because I need to know what was going on in that time period. With all that in place, I'm ready to write. Some authors think that takes all the fun out of writing, but they are wrong.

Part of the fun of writing for me is watching my characters grow and develop during the tale, but there is something else that making this act of creating a novel a unique endeavor. Stephen King experiences it, so does Sherrilyn, and my author friend. I do too.

The reason - as you write, characters come alive and take you where you never thought to go. I remember my first book where one of the minor characters died. She wasn't suppose to have a heart attack, and I had planned for her to appear in another scene, but no matter how many times I rewrote that chapter, she died. (Evidently, she didn't like her part in the tale.)

But, that's what so fun about writing a fiction novel. No matter how well you plan, or even if you don't plan, the surprises are there for you to find.


Anonymous said...

First couple books I sketched out. Now on my 14th I've become a seat of the pants guy, except when I collaborate with another author. Its impossible to coordinate between two minds across 90,000 words without an outline. But when I write alone I enjoy the surprise of what happens next, like the reader, so I just carry the scenes in my head and go from there.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2011)

January Bain said...

I'm definately a seat-of-my-pants kind of gal! Thanks for a great post!

January Bain said...

I'm definately a seat-of-my-pants kind of gal! Thanks for a great post!