How do you write?

February 13, 2012
Writerly people- when you sit down to write a story, do you start at the beginning? Or the end? Do you have it all figured out when you start, or do you just start writing and see what happens?

When I wrote In the Between (the novel I'm querying right now), the very first scene I wrote doesn't take place til page 26. For whatever reason, when I was thinking about the story, that's just the first scene that I could see clearly. At that time, I wasn't even sure where the story would go. I just wrote what I knew.

That's pretty much how I wrote the whole book. I knew some of the big things that I wanted to happen, so I would write those scenes, and then I'd go back in a fill in the gaps to get from scene A to scene B.

It. Took. Forever. And lots of rewriting. Lots and lots of editing.

I think if I could write a story from beginning to end, it'd be much simpler. But the problem for me is that I can never decide how exactly to start a story. Even with the Cooper book I'm currently working on- I skipped ahead to a part that I knew would happen early in the story, but it's not the beginning. Right now, I just have no idea how it begins!

I'm also not much of a plotter. I know the general direction of the story- I know the main conflict- I pretty much know the solution. But that's about it. I LOVE sitting down and writing and just seeing what happens. I know I sound like a crazy person when is say this- but when I was writing In the Between, there were times that I'd be caught up in the story, writing and writing, and all of a sudden something would happen that would even surprise ME! Me! The person who's creating the whole thing! I know. It's weird. But it's so fun. I love it when my characters do something that I don't see coming. It's like the idea flies into my head just as I type it and then I'm like, "Oh! Wow!" There were a few pretty major reveals in In the Between that happened like that. They turned into excellent story points that took my characters in completely new directions that I hadn't planned on.

LOVE that.

I remember reading somewhere on Stephanie Perkins's blog that she doesn't like to outline a story from beginning to end because then it's like she's already written everything/figured everything out, so it's not fun to write anymore. I totally get that. When I try to plot out a story, I feel confined by it. I have much more fun just flying by the seat of my pants.

So what do the rest of you do? I'd love to hear about it.


  1. First time to your blog...
    I am just getting into "writing" blogs after finishing my first novel. I really didn't really plan on writing one. I had an idea for a beginning and an end and just started filling in the middle. There were days where I myself didn't even know what was going to happen next but as I wrote it came to me. Maybe I should say... those days it wrote itself. Is it any good? I don't know. In 2 months I have sold 5 ebook copies. The only person who read it front to back that I know is my ex who is in love with the Fantasy genre and she gave good feedback. I gues I fly by the seat of my pants as well.

    1. I think that's the most fun part of writing- when it surprises me. Unfortunately, it's not like that for me every single day....sometimes I feel like I'm slowly trudging through, BEGGING for words. But the great days make the hard ones worth it!! Good luck with your novel!


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