Just as an FYI, the last writing advice post I flung onto my blog detailed how epithets (ex: the blond man, the fit man) were awesome. Apparently I was wrong? But that’s the level of expertise you’re dealing with here and all I can say now is I’m jealous of how confident I was giving that advice then.
So, behold: here’s some shaky unconfident advice. If you try to make me take responsibility for it, I won’t. I’ll deny everything.
But who is the advice for?
I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard of the many different kinds of writers there are out there, such as planners, do-whatevers, trousers, seesaws, and bananas. Or something! Anyway, my point is that ground has been covered in painstaking detail, so I’m not going to delve too far into the “types” of writers other than my type, which is– it sounded good at the time. In other words, the stupid type. The FICTION PRESS type. *Cough*
This advice is for anyone who wants it. But mainly it’s for that earnest, enthusiastic writer who unashamedly posts their no-paragraph-breaks, badly punctuated, hot mess of a story online, and hopes for the best.
Even now, I dive headlong into a WIP without knowing where it’s going from the first word onwards. That’s just how I write. The catastrophic flaw built into this technique is that somewhere in the middle of the story, you lose control. I’ll use two examples of mine:
- Leviathan. Fucking Leviathan. I love that story to shreds, but when will it end? Why does each chapter rise and fall in action as if it were a novel unto its own, and finally conclude with yet another fucking cliffhanger?
Oh. You expected me to know the answer… Okay.
I had too much fun writing it. Each chapter was FUN FUN FUN but like a house of cards, I kept stacking up drama and twists that would eventually need to be dealt with, otherwise the whole thing would implode. I learned a lot writing it, and found a lot of readers, but at the cost of leaving the poor fic wallowing.
- Soft/Wolf. This bullshit was supposed to be 20,000 words max. Young buck comes home from college, fucks his omega babysitter into the ground, they live happily ever after. Did this happen? No. Ok, yes, there was supposed to be the drama with the pack members keeping anyone from dating the omega while the alpha was at school and he was all pissed about that, STILL. I lost my way. Bummer.
Currently I have about eighteen… hundred thousand WIPs (that’s works in progress, btw). Most of them I want to finish, but wanting is a strange sort of thing–it doesn’t necessarily guarantee the desired outcome. However, I’ve made myself feel better by–wait for it–plotting.
For instance, Crooked House, my fantasy novel about wizards and magical, cranky houses, is (technically) plotted. I know how it goes, and how it ends. Nice, right? Now I just need to write the sucker.
I know how it goes, though. Overplotting can kill the momentum. It does for me. Even now, almost ten years after starting Demons of the Heart, I still start my story with a blank page and make up everything as I go along. But here’s what I suggest:
After that first ~spurt of passion~, maaaaaybe jot some notes down about a possible plot, just so you can know it where it’s (possibly) going. Why? So you don’t waste your time, and break your heart, over a story you’ve spent a long, long time writing. Don’t think what you’ve written is set in stone. Those notes are just to glance at when you find yourself 30,000 words in the hole, and you have no fucking clue what happens next. Trust me, this will happen.
So I’ve put together two things for you:
Plot Template: This is based off a pretty generic three-part plot. IMO it will keep your story snappy, and once you get the hang of it, you can start breaking the rules.
Worldbuilding Template: This is generated from several lists that I tried to boil down into something simple that’s just supposed to make you think a little bit about the world you want to build. There’s some more resources at the bottom.
Feel free to download or copy so you can use them 🙂
So, in summation:
- Write like the wind, free and earnestly
- Maybe, when you slow down a bit, make a plan
- Even if you’re deep into the story, you can still plot
- Here’s some fun templates