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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Michelle Rabe – How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No? @michrabe

How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?
There are writers I know who do a lot of planning before they start working on their novels. They have character biographies, notes about setting and have every scene planned out. When I first started writing I thought that this was what you had to do. Sure, I’d gotten the idea and started working on the first draft but where was I going to go with it? So, I picked up some books on writing and started reading them, all while I kept working on this directionless thing I had. Almost every book, I don’t remember which ones, said that the writer should start with research and an outline. So, I started researching, focusing on vampire folklore for the most part.
This whole time I was reading and researching I was also writing still with no plan no clue who was in my story or what they were doing there until they showed up on scene and tell me. When I did sit down to come up with my outline I’d written about half of my first draft. It was still an excellent feeling to sit down, see what I had done and had an idea where I was going.
But a strange thing happened once I had this grand plan, I couldn’t write. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten how to or life had taken over it was that every time I sat down to work on the scenes, nothing happened. The characters who were so vibrant and vocal before I made the outline clammed up. I was stuck with about half a book, and a plan for what I thought needed to happen but, I couldn’t finish it. I tried to write the scenes I thought were needed and a lot of them I wrote but deleted and started over because they were, to be honest, crap. After about a week of floundering around trying to make the story fit my idea of how it should go, I tossed the outline out the window and went back to just writing. I finished the draft and was happy with the results. Ever since then I’ve always written by the seat of my pants as it were.
Do I think that every writer should ‘pants it’? Not at all. I think every writer is different and they should find what works for them. I have a writing group made up of about 6-7 members and I think if I took a poll I’d get 6-7 different ways to write.  If it works for you don’t knock it. There’s more than one way to write, find what works and stick with it. If you find yourself blocked, try something different, shake things up. But most important, have fun.

Michelle Rabe
To the outside world, Morgan Blackstone is an eccentric business woman. But, in her chest beats the undead heart of a 21st century vampire. Behind the doors of her nightclub, The Dracul, Morgan rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove.
After a long night of wrangling unruly supernatural customers, she is looking forward to some peace… but unbeknownst to her, there are other vampires who are conspiring against her. Just before dawn, in the deserted parking lot, she comes face-to-face with two old adversaries, one of which she had last seen being sealed in a tomb, 400 years before.
Overpowered by her attackers, Morgan wakes inside the lab of an unscrupulous doctor. Held against her will, subjected to experiments, she soon realizes that something has begun to burn within her veins…
Something that she knows will kill her.
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Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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