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Writing thoughts for August "Outlining".

Random thoughts for August. I was looking up the old interweb thing and like to do a bit of reading and learning - all with the goal of improving my writing technique (you know so one day I will be famous haha). One of my biggest concerns has always been the notion of "outlining" your work before starting. You see my biggest secret is that I don't outline. I find the process tedious and boring. However, I wanted to know how many writers do and do not do. Basically, I have read books before about getting published etc with the advice - "Outline" and if you don't then you are not a writer. Well the news I will share is that I consider myself a writer (unpublished in the traditional sense) but still a writer - because I write and I enjoy it. 

So the notion of Outlining. Seems there are two side to this, much like the Force with both a dark side and the light side. As far as I can tell the predominate school of thought seems to fall on the side of the Outlining; the REAL writers Outline. Well to let you into my wee secret - I do not Outline my stories. I just can't do it and it does not work for me. I imagine writing as a journey where we meet some characters, get to know them and go on an adventure with them. If I was to Outline my novel, then their story would be told too quickly and I wouldn't get to go on the journey with them. When I sit down to write, its like me entering into a cinema hall and watching a movie for the first time. As I see the imagine in my head I start to write it down and then I get to be on the journey as well. I know after the first two or three chapters if the story is going to work and find an ending. 

I can admit that my method can end up with a lot of false starts, but I like it that way. I think back to my first full length novel I wrote (Star Fantasy). I started writing that using my own method - "write as you think". I eventually reached a dead end with it knowing at that stage in my life I did not have it in me to write a purely fantasy driven novel - my one true love was/is science fiction. 

Eventually, I started to write a book using the same world I had created in my mind, using the same species of characters, and the events which I churned out in those early chapters became a back story for the book that is Star Fantasy: The Voice of Darkness. However, even as I was writing that I didn't plan the ending. I did not shape the characters beforehand (I am sure the professional writer out there is rolling their eyes at me). I simply followed the "write as you think" method and in doing so I created a book which I loved. As I was writing it I could imagine myself in the cinema watching it play out before me. If I plan I think I would end up spending all my creative energy on the project and loose interest in it.  

For the foreseeable future I will continue to create works using the "write as you think" method. At this particular point in my life it works for me and allows me to enjoy the writing process. Write as you think allows me to create interesting first drafts, and although scrappy and in need to serious editing, I end up with a story that has entertained me as much as I hope it will have entertained a reader.

I think its important that writers choose the method that works best for them. Although the published manuals on writing will tell you one thing, don't do something that will ultimately get in the way of you writing your story.

Those books will not tell you how to write number 1 best seller straight away. Every story that is written, no matter what method you follow, will ultimately need a massive amount of editing to make it right. So choose a method that works for you to get that first draft written. 

Perhaps in the future, as my writing matures and I get better at it I might change - but for just now I am simply writing as I think. Which is how I have approached this blog post. Now that I have got to this sentence I am not sure if this was the original point I was going to make - I think it was. :) 

So the exclusive here today - How does John A. Ferguson approach his short stories, novels and comic scripts? ANSWER - I write as I think. 

So be well my fellow creative friends - write and be happy.

Happy reading and happy writing.


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