Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Organic versus Structured Writing

I have come to the conclusion that I am not an organic writer. Some writers are able to sit down at a black screen (or sheet of paper) and start wrting their novel from beginning to end with little or no outlining. Now, I have "written by Muse" before where a scene is so vivid that it flows straight to the page. However, I could never do an entire novel that way. For me, I need to have an outline before I write. I am the type of writer that requires structure.

I searched the Internet for authors in my genre to see how they write. Orson Scott Card (OSC) has some nice articles in his Writing Class section, which gave me a start. In addition, I read several methods of fellow aspiring writers on OSC's forums. Jeffery A. Carver's online course can be of help as well. However, none of these seemed right for me.

One day, as I looked for sites and blogs of literary agents, I came across Alexandra Sokoloff's blog (author of The Harrowing and The Price). She describes her Index Card Method where she writes the scenes of her novel on index cards (one scene per card) then organizes them into three acts. I won't go into much detail here, but I suggest you check it out if you're seeking guidance on how to get started on you next novel. She has several other posts on her blog that I have found very helpful.  I will try the index card method on my next novel. She breaks down the novel in an intuitive manner (for me at least) that I feel will help me get past some of the writer's block I have been experiencing.

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