This is a recurring post in which I tell you how I write. I've done a few posts already, but I've not covered plotting yet. This is just how I write and everyone does this differently so this might help you, but if it doesn't it's always nice to see how other people write.
When it comes to writing full scale manuscripts I'm a bit a mix between a plotter and a pantser. That is, I plan out the story a little and I wing it, well, I wing a lot of it.
When I get an idea I do a number of things. Most of the time I'll write the first scene. I know a lot of people like to plan before they write one sentence, but I find that writing the first scene helps me figure out what the mood of the story and where I want it to go from there. Often, I'll scrap that scene altogether but it always helps.
Once I've figured out what I where the novel to go, which is a mixture of thinking for a while and writing a few terrible chapters, I sit down and write an outline of the novel. I'll either do this straight away, somewhere in the middle of writing the project, or after I've finished it. This is usually a rough outline, maybe a page or two, in which I jot down, in order, what I want to happen. Once that's done, I get writing.
This is the hardest part, filling in the gaps. I can't really tell you how I do that, I just... do it. All I can really say that if it feels like you're forcing a plot point or if you're forcing a character to do something then you're probably not on the right track. Words shouldn't flow all the time, but your characters actions should feel natural and if they aren't, you need to rethink the story arc, the characters or the setting. Often I'll have a plan, but while writing I'll end up in a completely different place. That's fine. I go back to the drawing board and either fix what needs to be fixed or start again, even if I've already finished an entire draft. Starting again is daunting, to say the least, but it works out in the end.
Another thing that I do that's very important is researching. Researching can open up a whole realm of ideas and open up the places the story can go.
Then again, sometimes the problem is the story itself. When I continuously hit walls while writing, it could be time to just throw away the whole thing and start something new. The problem sometimes is that there aren't enough ideas to keep the story going or that the story is not meant to be a full manuscript. Sometimes it's because I'm not ready to write that story, for one reason or another, and that's okay.
Writing is not the easiest thing, but the more I practice it the better I get at navigating my way through the many problems I have while writing.
Just in case you guys didn't know I put up a short story last week. I've also created two new pages: a short story page, where I'll put all of the links to my short stories, and a forum page, where you can chat about YA, general fiction or where you can ask me a question. Feel free to have a look.
As usual, if you like this post you can follow me on booktwitmlr.
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org