I’m one of those people where I make the decision to settle down and write awhile before I actually do so. Part of that is procrastination, but the other part is my brain works on some of the other needed bits before you sit down to do the actual writing and that is brainstorming things. I’m setting things in motion as I work on outlining the parts that I already know and doing some research on things I don’t know just yet.
That includes checking out a few other authors methods for doing so. I did run across a video by Brandon Sanderson that made me sort of stop to scratch my head. He went into things that he believed were pros and cons for discovery writing versus outlining. I never actually thought about these parts and found in very fascination.
He said that outliners tended to have stronger finales to their work. The reason being they could foreshadow the events properly and had made sure that all the pieces were in motion prior to writing. Which I can see that being true. He said, however, outliners characters tended to be a bit on the weaker side as they were more stats on a page and not necessarily well rounded.
While discovery writers tended to have stronger characters because they developed on the page and were more rounded. It was the finale that suffered there because it wasn’t constructed ahead of time and foreshadowed.
Now, this isn’t hard and fast rules or anything, but more observations and I agree with this analogy as I’ve seen it appear in my own writing. When I discovery write, my character turn into living breathing beings, but my plot tends to be all over the map and it takes me a lot more rewrites to whip it into any shape. However, when I plot my characters tend to be flatter and lack the ability to stand off the page for me.
He also went into detail about how discovery writers tend to suffer if they share their work ahead of it being finished as well. They fall subject to people saying do you know what I think needs to be here, and insert whatever the reader wants next like dragons, or such. Even if that was never part of the original plan it ends up in the writing because discovery writers think oh that sounds cool and throws it in.
I know. Again, this happened to me. My first novel was a modpodge of things that equaled a hot mess when I was finished. I had no idea what I was doing nor how to stop that and my novel suffered for it. However, my characters were phenomenal and really came off the page. That resonated with a lot of readers and it gained the characters a good fanbase.
I’ve done the outlining of a novel and finished it. The common thing is the characters are weaker and it lacks that factor that connects people with that aspect. However, the plot is well written and all the loose ends are neat and tidy.
What do they suffer from? They suffer from worldbuilders disease. They get stuck in this perpetual state of not being able to move forward until their plot is absolutely perfect and their world. It takes them years upon years, sometimes upwards of twenty just to write a single book.
I’ve suffered from that a lot. I can plot the love of a book right out and still never write a single word of actual story.
Now, I would have to say I lean more toward discovery writing as I’ve gotten older and experimented with both way, but there are aspects of outlining that I’ve found value in that I will continue to use. So that pushes me more toward a hybrid with heavier discovery writing tendancies.
That is the part I’m at right now. I’m going to lay out the pieces I need to do the writing and jot down a few notes on scenes I want to happen and the story question, but most of my next novel will be discovery writing. It’s the way I love to write. I love getting excited and learning what is next along with the characters.
Back to work for me. Remember to L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, Love it) or it isn’t worth doing.