Last Updated on September 13, 2022 by ADMIN-TOM
As a storyteller, there is one overriding thing I need to be able to convey my story to my readers. No, it’s not grammar or any technical issues of writing. It’s faith in my story. As a writer of novels, I need to believe in my story, otherwise I will never be able to create a world my readers can invest in and enjoy.
But faith in a story also requires an ability to create that story and the world it resides in. To do that, I need a map, or guide, to help me navigate my world and its multitude of characters. I’m not a typical planner or pantser. I look at it as a hybrid methodology, both planned and pantser.
I rely on several aspects of my story to make it a living, breathing entity, especially where I’m writing a novel. The title, the cover, blurb for the cover and chapter titles. That may sound a little crazy to some, but it’s my tried and tested way of helping make the novel a living, breathing thing.
My methodology is this. An idea for a story pops into my head. I have no idea where it came from, but it’s suddenly there, impatiently waiting for me to start writing. Next comes a title. I rarely sit and think about a title, it too pops in my head from nowhere. I write two or three lines of blurb which forms the basis of a synopsis. This blurb may change over time but essentially stays the same. Next, I design a front cover. Again, the cover will change, but not much, and it will serve as a fixed point I can relate to as I work on the novel. Finally, I write 20-40 chapter titles. The chapter titles act as a road map for my novel. They will change, be added to, and sometimes (though it’s only happened once) scrapped entirely.
Once all this preparation is complete, I know I have the basis of a novel. Now I will add a couple of lines to each chapter, again as a road map.
All this prep work acts as a guide while I’m writing my novel editing it, re-writing it, re-editing until I’m happy with it.
In my mind the story is always there, with scenes acted out as if in a movie, as I go about my everyday life. The prep work continues to resonate daily in my mind and the characters are all forming up in a queue, ready to receive their looks, lifestyles, mantras, and foibles for all the world to read about, eventually. The guide to my story is as simple as that. I’m always playing that movie repeatedly in my mind and adding to it, slowly but surely.
The main problem I have is that it’s never just one story I’m working on, I currently have tons of ideas and about six I’m actively writing – not to mention the two books I’m reading on my kindle. Time is the killer in this case, not confusion. All the stories are neatly compartmentalized in my head and there is never an unintentional cross-over, but I do find it frustrating sometimes when I can’t just sit down and do a few hours writing.
But, as writers, we soldier on, hope for the best and we believe in ourselves.
Copyright Tom Kane © 2022
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