Planning, Outlining, and Bears Oh My

   I don’t know about you but my style of writing has always been 1) come up with an idea 2) picture the beginning and end 3) start writing. While this has worked in the sense that it got me writing right away, I found that I always fell into the same trap. That being, I would knock out about a thousand words and then get stuck (where do I go from here?). So I would set there and think scratch my head, go outside and smoke a cigarette, then come back and go directly to the end of the story and start writing that.

     Once I thought I had the beginning and end down I would start self-editing what I had down and then try to imagine what was going to happen next. Needless to say I consistently got frustrated and would set the story aside and start on a new ‘great’ idea that had burst into my mind. The cycle would continue and continue and continue… In other words I rarely got an entire rough draft written.

     Over the past few months I’ve been reading a lot of ‘How to’ books on writing fiction and while they all give great insight into publishing, character building, genres, audience, structure, and of course writing; the one aspect that jumped out for me was all the chapters on preplanning.

     Now, as I stated earlier I never spent much time on this part of storytelling, I just always waited for the story to come to me while writing, I decided preplanning was something worth looking into.

     I got online and did a search for some of the outlining software that some of these books talked about. I downloaded a free trial version of Power Structure but found it complicated and confusing (maybe due to my unfamiliarity of trying to outline an idea) but on top of that this was just a free trial and would expire and then I’d have to fork out $$ for the actual program. I didn’t want to go through the trouble of learning a program that I wouldn’t be able to afford in a month. I tried a few other free downloads but to the same end.

     Then I came across a free program called yWrite5 It obviously didn’t have all the bells and whistles that some of those other programs had but it was free and that was a major plus (for Windows users only). I’ve using it few a few weeks now and it still kind of feels like I’m driving on the wrong side of the road (given my write by the seat of my pants approach) but I’m slowly opening up to it and it seems to be helping me get my ideas down in orderly way.

     I’ll keep you up to date on my goings and if any of you have a style of writing that works for you I would love to hear from you.

Happy Writing

About G.Edward Smith

A stranger in a strange land...
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