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Blogger Fail

Question: So, K.M., why have you been totally ruining your usual blog schedule and missing updates all together?


Actually I do have a good explanation for once. You know how I said Enthroned was finished, and I just needed to edit it? Apparently Enthroned did not agree with that statement. These past three days I’ve added about four scenes of all new content, which means the editing process is taking much longer than I estimated.

Since I don’t really have any news to talk about, besides the fact that Enthroned is being an attention hogger, I thought I would take today to answer a common writer question.

Question: Are you the kind of writer who plans everything out, or do you fly by the seat of your pants and write as you go?

Answer: I’m a mixture of the two.

If I’m doing a historical novel then I have to do some research ahead of time, otherwise the story will end up down right shameful. With historical series, like Robyn Hood and King Arthur and her Knights, it is especially important to plan and plot out ahead of time because of all the historical legends and ballads I use. For instance, I can’t introduce a quest in King Arthur and Her Knights that Gawain takes part in if Gawain isn’t in the book yet.

With futuristic books or fantasy books I have the tendency to–in the beginning–make things up as I go along. This model works out great if the story isn’t super complex. Red Rope of Fate is a perfect example. I had a rough idea of the sequence of events I wanted, and I knew some of the cultural differences between elves and humans, but that was it. I didn’t design any of my characters out ahead of time, and I didn’t have any written notes so everything still had to be hashed out as I wrote. Same idea for Princess Ahira.

This model does not work with books that have special/significant magical/social/cultural/economic systems. For instance I plotted for weeks before I wrote Life Reader, and in the end my original work was still so horrid I rewrote the book 3 times. If you’re going for a complex story and you don’t take the time to plan things out ahead of time two things will happen: 1) You’re going to forget all the intricacies you’re writing because you don’t have notes about it so your book will be riddled with errors and things that don’t make sense or 2) You will have to spend so much time editing and rewriting that the little time you saved by not plotting out ahead of time is squandered in the editing process. The one upside to the fly by the seat of your pants model is that if you’re aware you’re going to have to do revisions you won’t be opposed to flipping the book on its head and doing major revisions to the plot and setting.

I’m not saying a person absolutely must plan out a book ahead of time–with a lot of my books I launch into the first 20 pages and then go back and make notes and plot everything out after I get a feel for the characters–but it is also worth noticing that the big time authors all plan/research ahead of time. (Example? J.K. Rowling.)

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