Saturday, April 24, 2010

Writing A Book - What Are Some Different Approaches?

You know, since I've started to work on a new book, I've been sitting here thinking about what sort  of methods I would use. I mean for the novel I wrote, I sort of started with the "discovery writer" method and later did some chapter by chapter break downs - or my own unique outlining method. I know that some of my fellow writers would object to cashing out a line to catch all the different methods for putting a book together from concept to finished pages. It may  not be because you're loathe to share your "secrets" but rather about burdening future writers with an outline of the convoluted ways you may have gone before you settled upon a collection of methods that worked well for you - at least on a book-by-book basis.

The Jungle

What you're going to discover very quickly is that there are so many cobbled together methods, so many gimmicks being peddled out there, both on the web and in the books you might find in the library that to settle upon a fair selection of what would be called the top methods may seem a foolish errand. Perhaps, it is. But, hey, I'm a creative writer. Why should I little such nagging details stop me from the attempt?

Really, what this post is about if the solicitation of thoughts and ideas on the subject. That's right folks, I'm asking you, my fellow wordsmiths (and others who may be reading this) to help me narrow down some of the top ideas for crafting books that you come up with. I'm interested in having a list as well as a bunch of comments.

This is post will only be effective if you answer so please don't leave me hanging. If I get a good turn out here, then we can continue the conversation through comments and subsequent posts. That's the idea anyway.

By The Way

Part of the incentive for me is also to get some better ideas about the book I'm currently writing. It's a piece of non-fiction. I think I could call it a memoir but it could also be an inspirational story about real life. It tells an intimate story that mixes hope with tragedy.

I'm looking for ways to put this material together. I've thought about using straight chronological order, but it may make for drier reading, but it would get all of the story out there for readers to see from point A to point B. Otherwise, I could mix the details and facts with a more flexible thematic structure that addresses different parts of the story on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Then I would take this and weave it together as a whole.

Like I've mentioned before this book represents my entrance to a whole new level of professional writing as well as a golden opportunity to add the second book to my publishing company list. I hope to hear some feedback from my colleagues in the writing world.

Thanks again. Good luck with your writing projects!


Anonymous said...

Dear Shaun,

My father drilled outlining into me, and as a teacher I encourage the same for my students, but for years I wrote pretty much stream of consciousness and then went back and created an outline and cut and pasted the material to fit it. But when I started working on my mystery-Maids of Misfortune, I felt that I had to start with a chapter outline that would ensure I was introducing all the elements of a mystery-characters who had motive, opportunity, means, red herrings, clues, etc. I had watched fellow writers start mysteries without being sure who did the murder and then spend endless rewrites once they had determined this simple fact.

However, beyond a list of key points I wanted to address in each chapter (introduce a possible suspect, advance the relationship between main protagonists, drop a clue) I left the details up to my imagination. Sort of like the outline was a map that showed starting and ending point and some key tourist spots I want to see, but unlike those google maps, it didn't lay out a single route to get there. I don't know if this helps with a memoir, but I have always seen memoirs as a person examining the mystery of their own life, so maybe there are similarities. Anyway thanks for the post and the thoughts it produced.

SCK said...

Thanks so much for the comments. I appreciate them.