Musings of the University of Dundee MLitt Publishing Writing students

Challenges, Thoughts on Writing

The Life of the Planned Writer

I am not the sort of writer who can write on a whim. I cannot sit there, think of a rough plot, and start writing straight away. Everything must be planned to the finest detail — perhaps why it takes me so long to begin writing in the first place.

When it comes to novel writing I will have that rough idea in my head, to begin with, but before I even start to plan out the plot itself I need to figure out who the characters are. Every character that I know will be in the story will receive their own biography. It will talk about their life, their likes/dislikes, their personal history, how they intertwine in the story. They will also have their own dedicated private board on my Pinterest to figure out how they look/receive a mood board around them. This, thereafter, allows me to create more realistic characters.

Once finished, I will then turn to the plot, bullet pointing every event in every chapter that I see happening. If any new characters crop up, they too will receive the same dedication as the beginning lot. This also allows me to see if these characters work not only in the story but as a group. After all the planning is finally finished, I can finally start writing.

I wish I was the type of writer who could simply write everything as they go, but even in my everyday life, this is how I work. Whether it is to-do lists, schedules, or notes within my phone. I find it hard to cope with the last-minute aspects life creeps up on you.

But, sometimes I try. I will try to tackle a short story without any idea of where it is going. Sometimes it is absolute gibberish and will remain in a scrapped piece of paper. Sometimes it progresses into something interesting — something I can borrow sentences from, or on the rare occasion, something that works as a piece.

It is healthy to challenge ourselves this way. So if you, as an unrestricted writer, want to try life on a schedule I say go for it. Perhaps one day we will both fully understand the benefit of the others life.