Do You Drive It or Does It Drive You?

book, drive, exposing dallas, inspiration, lindsay mawson, novels, plot, research, stolen prey, the lothgoliar, write, Writing Advice

Do you take the wheel in the automobile that is your writing, or is your car operating by forces other than your own, sometimes frightening you, but taking you to places you had never dreamed of?

Every time I write, it never fails, my book ends up a place that I had never expected it to. I mean, sometimes we’re still in the same country, but sometimes I end up on another continent.

This begs the question, do you plot your book, or does it plot you??? Okay, I know a book cannot plot you, but you get the gist. Do you sit down and write out what each chapter is going to consist of, who all your characters are going to be, where they are going to emerge, what the ending is going to be, or do you let your book take you where it wants?

I generally start out with an idea. It is a broad idea. Somtimes it can be specific. I mean I usually have a good idea of what the central conflict will be. But sometimes I am inspired by not an idea for a plot, but by a theme. Or maybe not even a theme, but just a random something that happens to someone. Stolen Prey was not the first novel I wrote, though it was the first published. I wrote The Lothgoliar first, probably eight years ago. I had no idea where it would take me, but one day I was inspired to write the first chapter, which is now the Prologue. I simply took it from there, knowing not where it would take me.

I thought Stolen Prey would be a ghost story when I first started it. But after a bit of hiatus and writer’s block, it ended up being driven by the theme of domestic violence, abuse, etc. Exposing Dallas was my original book, but of course, after many passing years, one matures, grows, and the only thing I extracted from that book were the characters. Dallas was a musician and had a certain unexplainable condition. That was it. Where it drove me was up to it, but the journey only took little more than a month.

I know some might say that not plotting is rather haphazard and can lead to holes, etc. But I disagree. You will catch holes in your revisions, and if not, one of your initial readers will find those holes. I love letting the story write itself because as themes emerge, you can simply take them where you want to. You might find that you have taken on a completely different direction than what you had thought, or maybe you  just added a bit more depth that you didn’t think you would have.

I am definitely one of those people that writes VERY quickly, just to get my thoughts all down on paper. I do try to do some research in between where necessary because obviously it will determine the course of the book. But I do revision later, and many times. I like to edit. Most people hate it. But I love it. I feel like an artist moulding a sculpture into something worthy of a museum. I love to see the before and after in EVERYTHING, not just writing. I love makeover shows.

I don’t think too much about where the book is taking me. I don’t argue with it, because if I do, if I try to keep it going in a direction other than the one it wants to take, we’ll just end up bad road trip buddies, glaring sideways at one another now and again. When the book has done it’s time, completed it’s portion of the journey, I take over, and mould it from there.

Do you plot your books, either in depth or just a little, or do you let your book run away with the keys?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *