Playing With Craft

“Are you a pantser or an outliner?”

“What’s your favorite part of the writing process?”

“How do you deal with writer’s block?”

“Where do you get your characters?”

“Do you hand write the first draft?”

Over the last few years I’ve heard variations of these questions from different interviews and the like and I have to be honest … at the time I didn’t really pay them too much mind.

This year, however, I’ve reached the point of my craft where I’ve begun asking precisely why I do things the way I do.

I “pants” the first half of a novel and then I have to outline it … but why?

Is an outline too restrictive for the beginning of my process or am I just afraid of losing that spark of inspiration if I try?

Well, I won’t really know the answer to that question unless I try something different.


For the last several weeks I’ve been playing with my craft. Scrivener makes this curiously easy, especially with the 3×5 card approach, so I’ve been working on an outline for a paranormal romance.

Why not, right?

Just because I’ve never written in that genre before doesn’t mean I can’t. I’m only limited by myself here, and I’ll only grow if I stretch those boundaries.

And just to make things interesting … let’s try the young adult market.

For those who follow this blog you’ll know that I cringe at the young adult market. I disliked High School while I was in it, why would I want to go back, even in fiction? (Though now that I’m working with this outline I believe most authors hated High School and that’s how they infuse the pages with all that angst.)

Again, we’re looking at self-imposed limitations here and I’ve decided to break free of them.

And, given that this is a writing experiment, I’ve decided that I’m going to share this process here. This is a writing blog, after all, and maybe what I learn along the way will help someone else.

As with any experiment, I have to lay some ground rules to follow.

  1. I will post once a week on the project beginning in December.
  2. The post will consist of comparisons between what I used to do, and what I am forcing myself to try. (Example, this book will use an outline from start to finish.)
  3. The Hard Deadline schedule will not be moved. (This means that this is a side project and cannot interfere with what I already have planned for 2016. Which is plenty, just so you know.)

Those are pretty simple rules. The Hard Deadline schedule will be discussed next month when we start looking at New Year goals, but to help clarify a bit, I’m to begin work on Dead Weight (the sequel to Tapped) on January 1st.

Yes, this means I will essentially have two books being created around the same time. If it proves to be too much I’ll have to focus on Dead Weight, complete it, and then resume with the experiment.

That’s the glory of a side project. It can be moved if it needs.

In the meantime …

Everyone participating in NaNoWriMo … you’re awesome! Keep writing!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving (if they celebrate it) or just an awesome week!


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