Trusting my author instincts

Something has changed in my approach to writing.

Or perhaps it’s just a change for the book I’m currently working on. I usually meticulously plot chapter by chapter, but for the sequel to Social Media Central, that’s not the case. Maybe it’s because it needs twists and turns as its a dystopian thriller. It’s better for me to surprise myself by which dilemma Tayler finds himself, while I work out ways of bailing him out.

I have a mass of notes for this project and although I did plot many chapters for the first quarter of the book, I didn’t follow the plan. The same things happen, just not in the same order and sometimes not in the same way.

Social Media Central also ended up being written with the same approach.

While I had much of it plotted I went off course to experiment with other ideas. Even several versions of the same scene were penned before I felt the details were right. And while I knew the ending would be about Tayler giving in to mass culture by becoming famous for creating something just as mundane as cat videos, a better ending came as I was writing it.

And so too with my current project. I trusted myself to start it before I had worked out three quarters of the plot. Yet I’m finding inspiration in daily life and through random thoughts that have become the notes which are driving the story. Usually these ideas help shape the next draft of a book but this time I’m working through my chaotic ideas, piecing them together as I go along.

My other work in progress hasn’t been approached the same way.

The Midnight Man is a Magic Realism story about a guy finding the man he needs in his dreams. This was plotted, as all my fantasy books are. It’s currently resting before I tackle it for its second draft, and as usual, other new scene ideas have come up.  This is my usual approach.  For this project I feel I need to include more backstory and to give my main character an obsession for muesli bars.

So maybe I’ve found a new way of working. Or maybe just a different way to approach a particular genre. I’m enjoying where this ride might take me. The irony is I read Stephen King’s book about writing recently and found he doesn’t believe in plotting. It was the only advice of his I didn’t agree with. Yet here I am working closer to his style.

It seems I’m more confident to break my own rules these days.

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