Monday, January 9, 2012

Writing Smarter, not Harder

I have always been a pantster with my writing.  I liken it to taking a trip and knowing where I am starting and where I am going, but leaving the journey in the middle unplanned so I can take whatever route I want.

Then I started working full time again, and while I was still getting places in my writing, it was taking much longer and there were more rewrites before things could go out to beta readers as I didn't have the same flow.

Needing a new approach, I tried a few things, until I found one that seems to be working quite well for me.  I wrote chapter outlines.  They are not very detailed, just a few sentences of things that need to happen in the chapter and some suggestions for dialogue or character development things.

So far, I have found I don't have to spend so much time thinking about where I am going as I have my road map.  I just have to start the scene and keep in the guidelines I have jotted down.  Does this mean my road map is set in stone?  Absolutely not.  I already made changes to one chapter that were not in my outline, but did go back and add in a character development I had forgotten I wanted and needed.

Have you found any tips for writing smarter and not harder?  Share below.  And be sure to come back on Thursday for the results of the poll and a book review story I think you'll enjoy.


  1. Good post Mary, this is exactly how I feel about the writing process. Just get from Point A to Point B however it works for you:)

  2. I can't imagine panstering a book. I use a cork board to help me plot my stories. I started using it during the rewrites of my last novel, and tried it out while plotting out my new wip. I was instantly sold. It works perfectly for me because I use both the books Save the Cat and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook when plotting my stories. :D

  3. Hi Mary! I'm a panster, too. Actually, I think I'm a little inbetween a pantser and a plotter. I've started doing outlines of the main premise of the book. Just bulleted lists that keep me on track of where I want to start and where I want to finish and what needs to happen along the way. Of course, my outline keeps changing a little, but that's okay. Sometimes change is good. :)

    Author of Concilium, available July 2012
    Concilium: The Departure, November 2012

  4. I love outlining. It's changed how I write, completely. In a good way, I think!


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