This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Writing Methods

When I write I keep my outline or summary at my page's bottom. It moves as I type and I delete sections of it as I accomplish them in the story's body. It helps keep me (relatively) on task. So I was perturbed when I needed recently to fill in some additional "blanks."

See, my tale (Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills) has a certain dark and dangerous quality to it because (if you're familiar) the faeries of yore weren't the cute frilly little Amy Brown sprites of today. The traditional tale of Tam Lin is a story of kidnapping, seduction, a frighteningly possibility of sacrifice after a lengthy stay with immortals, and the hope that salvation will come just in time because of a maiden's pure love.

But, as we know, sometimes sacrifice (which comes in many forms) is the only way to reach a happy ending, and maidens can be tremendously fickle (as can their counterparts). And in those same ways, the fae of old (dark, dangerous and often cruel with their entertainments) are the most fitting fae to use because they illustrate that raw beauty can still hide tremendous danger and that sometimes in life the little "tests" we face will change our life in the biggest ways.

So, there's a lot of subtext that gets folded into my story (hopefully seamlessly, but I'll keep editing until I'm convinced), and some very dark moments. My characters are evolving (as I think good characters should), but making sure I keep up with their growth feels like more responsibility than pure pleasure some days.

But, I'm continuing to map out the newer details of the story as it emerges. How much will I write today? Not sure. I mapped out three key details early this morning. But it's not like I wrote any of my actual "words" yet.

So how do you stay on task when you're writing?


RomanceWriter said...

Your writing method sounds interesting. I'm jealous. You seem to have it much more together than I do. ;) I write always from the seat of my pants with the vaguest idea of where these characters are taking me.

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Eh, I doubt I'm any more together than you are, Sara. I'm still very much in a trial and error stage regarding how I write best.

I've done the whole organically-growing-a-story-method, but I was seldom pleased with what my characters wanted to do if left to their own volition. I've even tried really forcing characters to comply with a plot I'm in love with--that was uncomfortable for me (and certainly not a pretty result--like trying to wedge into a shoe 2 sizes too small!).

Now I start with a random thought, snippet of a dream, a phrase, something I heard on the History Channel, Sci Fi or Travel ;-) --whatever-- and mull it around in my head for a while. I let it bump into random stuff in my brain, identify itself and grow.

Once I feel like it has a flavor--like a loose cultural identity--I hop on and try to find some names to spark more of a story. Characters start to announce themselves.

Then I consider a theme (though it's usually so loose no one else'd dare label it that ;-) . I jot down an intro--like a gut reaction to establish mood and action.

Then the plot starts to emerge. I only have a rough paragraph of the basics (a synopsis) at first. The rest fills in over time as I write.

Eh, that's my current method... ;-)

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