To Plan or Not to plan…
That is the question. Here’s what I do.
I had been writing for about ten years on and
off by the time I heard this, and when I did it really stuck with me
and it does today. I remember something that Terry
Pratchett had said on TV during an interview and it was basically this,
if you are stuck about what to write then begin with two characters, get
them talking to each other and see where it takes you. I was quite pleased when I heard this because that was how I had been doing it all along.
But I always end up having to do some at least.
Taking into account that your story has to have a definite beginning,
middle and end, it is important to recognise where the crisis point is
and so you can take the action down to the resolution point. Minette
Walters (The Shape of Snakes) said in an interview that she waited until
she got to the halfway point before deciding who the murderer was. So she was just as surprised herself.
You may disagree, but all I can say to that is, that we are all different.
I usually find that as long as you are true to your characters and give
them the life that they ought to have then I find that they take things
off into their own direction anyway. It’s quite
exciting when this happens, then you find yourself writing just to see
what happens next and that gives you even more of a thrill about
Want to write? Then don’t!
Mad? Me? No. I’m merely saying that not writing can be just important as writing. Or to be more specific, it is important to remember not to overdo things.
● Organise your time at the computer, staring at that glaring screen can send you loco.
● Always remember, you don’t have to write at every single opportunity. If you don’t really feel like writing then you’d be a fool to even try. If your heart isn’t into the writing of the book, then heart won’t be in the reading of the book either.
● “Above all, to thine own self be true…” Don’t keep writing just for the sake of ending the day with that 4k you promised yourself. When your head feels tired and the word won’t come out by themselves then walk away and comeback refreshed. Writing just for the sake of getting the wordies down will lead you putting down half-hearted text that will only leave your book entering what I call a ‘diluted’ section.
Who do you write for?
I don’t know about you but I write for me. Staying for a moment with the ‘To thine own self be true’ thingy again. It is the easiest thing in the world to go for a genre that you think is enjoying a popular phase. ‘I can do that!’ you may think. ‘Harry Potter?’ No problemo!’ However your target audience might not appreciate your lack of conviction, especially if you’ve been writing travel biographies for the past twenty years. That is why I write to please me. Somewhere in my addled mind is the strange belief that somewhere out there, there is a whole army of readers who are just as mad as I am. Then if there aren’t that many then I know that the ones who do pick up my book and enjoy it do so with the knowledge that they are going to read something that was tailored to suit them and thus won’t go away disappointed. We are all different but believe me, out there, there are people like you and they want to read your book.
The blank screen
Yes, the dreaded scourge of the writer, the big, white, mocking, glowing, rectangle. It laughs at you. It says, you really can’t think of a single thing to type can you? You’re a complete and utter failure, call yourself a writer.
Don’t rise to it mate, that’s what I say. I stare at the screen on and off for about twenty minutes before I decide that this really isn’t working. I go for a walk and then have another go. If that doesn’t work I go for another one. Writing keeps you healthy. I see my head as a little room stuffed with junk. Sometimes you need to have a good sort out and to do that it’s usually a good idea to open a couple of windows and give the place an airing.
Everybody likes a surprise ending even me. As my way is usually writing as if I am reading what I am writing, I’m as curious as the next fellow about how the story ends. I like to get to the last few chapters and have a few weeks off while I come up with with my big whammy, explosive ending. I look at all the threads and like the bloke with the detonator box twist the two wires together that make the big bang.
The way I see it, there are no rules to writing, apart from the one, and that is to simply have a blooming good time doing it. If you do that, then the reader will do the same.
Writeth and enjoyeth!
A brief biography of Philip Gilliver
Philip currently works at Yale College Wrexham where he helps students with physical and learning difficulties with their course work.
Over the years he has been a member of a number of literary groups and has attended courses in creative writing, which was where he met his wife ‘Melanie’.
Ever still an aspiring writer in search of an agent or a publisher, Philip has so far completed five books, the comedy/fantasy Dreamspiller, the comedy/science fiction tales The Yartang Shopping Empire Invasion, and The Glisteny Thing of Laboria for young adults and Jurassic Mark and Jurassic Mark and the Frankenguitar for children 7-10. He is currently working on a script for radio and a viking adventure entitled Odvald. You can find him on the following pages:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=1485324360&ref=profile http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=1932 Dreamspiller
http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=1935 The Yartang Shopping Empire Invasion!
http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=2995 Jurassic Mark