Once again, a blog topic came from an email loop. More on that in a moment, after I ramble.
I think email groups are some of the most interesting tools available to a writer these days. Long gone (potentially, if one knows about them, which if a writer is serious about getting published, they’d better know about things like this) are the days of writing in solitude with few people at hand who can help/provide feedback. Now, you can get a critique partner, join in classes, and even get an agent, all theoretically without ever leaving your house. Maybe this dates me as being pretty young, but I honestly can’t imagine trying to become a published author (or work in a law office) before the days of email, computers, and the internet.
Heavens, having to retype an entire page because of one small typo? Oh, the horror! That said, I remember learning to type and actually doing short stories on an electric typewriter from the 60’s (though it was definitely not the 60’s when I learned to type).
Now – on to my actual topic. A week or two ago, the topic of the loop was how do you organize your writing? They meant, do you use physical note books, software of some sort, et cetera. A lively round of responses came in, mentioning the ever-popular Mac program Scrivener (which is currently doing beta testing for a windows version – check it out at the website here). Most everyone chimed in about their great organizational techniques (ranging from index cards and post-it notes to Scrivener and similar programs).
In reading those responses, it occurred to me that I don’t do any of that. Everything I have is stored in my head. Oh, from time to time I’ve tried to create a document in word as my ‘story bible’ but it never gets used. I’ve now downloaded Scrivener’s beta, but when I open it, I just freeze up. Am I dooming myself to failure forever as a writer if I don’t do this sort of thing, write everything down somewhere? Is it just part of being a pantser, that I don’t write every single tiny detail about my characters down?
For me, I don’t know anything (usually) about my characters when I start to write. Heck, I rarely know more than a single plot point when I start a draft. It all works itself out as I go along in the junk first draft. I’ve tried to be more methodical, but outlining never works.
How about you? Do you work everything out to the nth degree before you start? Do you use a writing program or notebooks or the like when you plot?
Have a great day!