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Flying Pants

I really wanted to write a new blog post, but wasn't sure what to write about or where to start so I thought I'd just start writing and see where it took me, which is often what I do with my short stories. 

I think of a first line and take it from there and nine times out of ten it works. A theme emerges a couple of paragraphs in, and I start to get excited as I know at that point I'm going to have a (hopefully) decent story. 

I've started applying the same principle to novel number 3, as I'd got a bit blocked and kept going over the same chapters, editing, honing, tweaking, primping (and occasionally going off to make cakes) instead of actually making any progress.

As November is National Novel Writing Month I thought I'd take the opportunity to get the final 40,000 words of the first draft finished, and so far it's working a treat.  I don't always know when I sit down to write how the chapter is going to pan out, but somehow it always does, and the more I write the more the ideas come flooding in, and the more I can see how it's all going to be tied up at the end.

I'm not sure this 'flying by the seat of your pants' style of writing is advisable for everyone, but while it's working I'm going to carry on and hope I don't fall down a massive plot-hole at some point and break my ankle.

And look - I've made a blog post!

(Ooh and by the way, my trip to Rome (seems AGES ago now) was fantastic, and I'm so glad I made the effort to get on that plane.  I can't say I'd be happy to travel to the other side of the world now, but I know I can cope with a couple of hours in the air.  And Italian ice-cream is amaaaaaazing.)


Patsy said…
I like the idea of just going with it but I've found it rarely works for me.
Teresa Ashby said…
Glad you enjoyed the ice cream - I mean Rome ;-)

My writing is much better if I just go with the flow - I can't plan to save my life, but find if I just write, characters appear and off it goes. Mind you, have to get myself started in the first place and that's another matter ;-) x
Karen said…
Patsy - With my novel I have to have an idea of where it's going, but don't plan how to get there!

Colette - I tried it a couple of times for short stories, just to make myself write SOMETHING, and found it worked (not every time, mind you!)

Teresa - I'd love to know how they make their ice-cream and might have to look it up!

Getting started (writing-wise) is definitely the hardest bit, which is why I started forcing myself to think of a first line and write - I was sick of staring at a blank page!
Sue Blackburn said…
Two wonderful writer friends told me this at one of their sessions in their fantastic writing courses. They are sadly no longer in this area - they were mean enough to move to the other end of the country!! But yes, that was their advice. If it's a blank page you are staring at - just write anything. Then at least you are writing and more often than not the ideas will follow. :o) xx
And it's a great post, too.

Glad Rome was good.

So far, I can only write by the seat of my pants! But I do enjoy the rewriting even more. So glad you enjoyed Rome.
DAB said…
If you get stuck for ideas you can always introduce a gnome or two to your new novel ;-) Tommox

Glad you enjoyed Rome. :-)
Laura said…
What a great post - I'm going to take a pinch of that and apply it to my writing. Hope you're having a lovely weekend.
I've never been to Rome-I'd love to though... but Paris will always be my first port of call
Laura x
Librarian said…
Flying Pants style obviously works for you, so you should keep doing that. Other writers say a strict routine and discipline works best for them; I suppose the actual method of writing is as individual as the writers themselves.
Edith said…
I love how you did this and only wish I could do it too. Unfortunately I'm one of those who needs some sort of 'scaffolding', not exactly a complete plotter (but maybe a plonker !!) but rather a set of loose guidelines. However I am due to post something on my blog (late actually!)and just may try your approach. xxx
Talli Roland said…
I'm with Edith - I need a bit of scaffolding or I waffle on for ages! I wish I could just go for it.
Anna May said…
Hi Karen,

I vote for your way. If I plan a story/plot too much I feel like it's all over before I even get started.
Well done on finishing that all important first draft!
Anna May x
Anonymous said…
Plotting and pantsing are both tools in my writer's toolbox.
Amanda said…
I find my best short stories (the ones the sell) are often those that stream from the subconscious without planning. My novels, however, get in a bit of a pickle without planning. (Did you notice it's the novels that get in the pickle, not me!) :-)

Karen said…
Sue - anything's definitely better than staring at a blank page - although sometimes I wonder when I read things back!

Suzanne - thank you on both counts :o)

Rosemary - I enjoy rewriting too, find it very satisfying!

DAB - NOOOOO!! Definitely no gnomes. And I didn't see a single on in Rome :o)

Laura - Ah yes Paris is lovely too - I had my honeymoon there (with my husband, of course).

Librarian - that is true. I've tried various methods over the years, and just tend to get on with it now!

Edith - I do construct a little scaffolding, but not too much :o)

Talli - Well I have come unstuck before, so I do need a tiny bit of scaffolding!

Anna May - I think that's exactly it, with too much planning I feel like I've 'told' the story and can't be fagged to actually pad it out.

Captain Black - wise to have both in your kit :o)

Amanda - Of COURSE it's the novels - we writers are far too sensible to get in a pickle :o)

Cait O'Connor said…
You are brave to do this, I have never tried but might have a go!
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