Bronwyn Green

The Corner of Quirky & Kinky

Best and Worst is a new feature for the Wednesday Random Bloggers. It’s not best and worst for everyone–just the best and worst for each blogger participating.

First, the worst. These are things I’ve tried, and they actually made my brain curdle. So, I refuse to ever do them again. The end.

Super intensive plot outlines. They just don’t work for me. I have absolutely zero interest in writing a story if I know everything that’s going to happen.

Color coded index cards. A lot of writers use colored index cards as part of their writing process. Pink for characters and character development. Blue for internal conflict. Green for external conflict. Yellow for plot. Purple for setting. Or…whatever. But the idea is that the writer spreads them out and rearranges them until they form a cohesive storyline. And as the writer is writing, elements can be rearranged if they find the previous order didn’t work as well as they thought.

This method is so not for me. For starters, the whole concept just distracted and overwhelmed the hell out of me the few times I tried it. I couldn’t focus on the story I wanted to tell because I was too busy trying to remember what color corresponded to what story element and again, I had no interest in writing the story because I already knew what was going to happen. 

No solid story idea whatsoever. This is also a terrible idea for me. Too little plot usually means that I start dinking around on social media instead of writing. I suspect I’m beginning to sound a bit like Goldilocks, here. “That bowl has too much plot,” she whined. “That bowl doesn’t have enough plot.”

Shut up, and write the book, you whiner!

Now, on to the best process for me.

What works best for me is to know who my main characters are, what they want out of life, why they want it, and why they can’t have it – goal, motivation, and conflict. I also need to know a little bit their pasts, what their futures hold, how the book starts and have a few snippets of dialogue in my head.

Once I have that, I can just start writing and let the story unfold as I move forward. Like the map through the Hundred Acre Wood, there’s enough information there to guide me where I need to go, but there’s enough room for me to wander and discover new things–like heffalumps and woozles–as I go. The trick is to trust the story, the characters, and myself.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ Best and Worst posts!

Jess  *  Gwen  *  Siobhan  *  Jessica



7 thoughts on “Best and Worst: Writing Process

  1. Alex Kourvo says:

    “The Goldilocks outline!” Yes, that is the outline that every writer needs. I am now and forever going to refer to the “just right” outline as the Goldilocks outline.

  2. Jess Jarman says:

    No surprise that we’re on the same page with all this. 🙂

  3. Diana Lloyd says:

    The color-coded index cards method always amazes me. I’d become more interested (frantic) in putting the cards into interesting patterns, pretty combinations, the PERFECT order. Not to mention the hours and hours of thought I’d put into what exact color any new thought/element/character should be. I would end up with every color on the color wheel and a mess that might be aesthetically pleasing but would not be in any logical order for a story.

  4. Gwen Cease says:

    Yes!!! Intense plot outlines are totally stoopie. Once I plot it all the way out, my mind’s like, “Yep, I’m done.” So, yep, pantsing it is the total way to go

  5. Siobhan Muir says:

    Yeah, I need to know my characters and where I want them to end up, but with enough open space that the muse doesn’t flat out refuse to write it. Great post, Bronwyn.

  6. I’ve run up against a few woozles in my time.

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