Taking a Blind Leap -- A WOW-Wednesday Post by Arwen Elys Dayton
I love talking with other writers and learning how they write and edit and organize their days, so I'm honored to get to discuss two aspects of writing that have been essential for me:
1. The value of taking a blind leap
2. The value of outlining (or deciding not to outline) in getting to the end of the story
Without these, I would still be waiting for "the right story to come along." In other words, I would never have finished anything.
The Blind LeapBefore I actually wrote Seeker, the characters were knocking around in my head for a long time. I had grown to love them dearly and I was fascinated by the world they lived in. And yet...I had doubts. The story I envisioned was completely engrossing...to me. But did I honestly expect others might feel the same? Could I live up to the story I saw in my head? I doubted it.
In the end (or really, in the beginning), I had to ignore those doubts and take a leap into the world of Seeker regardless. I decided to commit myself fully, because I loved the characters and I needed to find out what was going to happen to them. It didn't matter what might happen later, I told myself, I had to try to live the story. If I was going to fail, I wanted to fail wholeheartedly.
Outlines! (Or no outlines!)Deciding when and how much I'll outline has also been a crucial part of writing successfully. I have two ways of writing, and which one I use really depends on the story.
For Seeker, I did a lot more plotting ahead of time. Seeker has four points of view, and they intertwine to tell one fast-paced story, with complicated personal dynamics and many moments of severe, uncomfortable emotion mixed in. Seeker is the first of a series, in which each book will gradually illuminate more of the Seekers' lives and the world in which they live. Making a detailed outline allowed me to tell this story as efficiently as I could, and serve multiple story lines with each chapter. An outline also helped me lay the groundwork for what would be revealed in each book. It would have been hard to pull this off without advance planning. So right now, as I write the second and third books of the Seeker series, I'm outlining a lot!
The danger in outlining (for me, at least) is being too specific. When I write an overly detailed outline, it may suck a little bit of the life out of the actual writing, and not allow enough room for the serendipity and spontaneity. So I try to strike a balance in my outlines—I want to figure out what's going to happen and how it will feel, but I want to know the broad strokes, not the minute details and moments.
Balancing when I do and don't outline, and treating outlining as a tool that I'm willing to pick up or set down at will, has been extremely helpful to me. I've found many writers committed to one school or the other—Outlines or No Outlines. But the real point of any writing tool is: does it help you finish your book? I ask myself this question and let the answer guide me.
About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads
About the Book:
The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.
As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.
And she'll be with the boy she loves--who's also her best friend.
But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.
Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought.
And now it's too late to walk away.
"In this powerful beginning to a complex family saga...Dayton excels at creating memorable characters."- Publishers Weekly
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads
-- posted by Susan Sipal @HP4Writers