#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs – Let’s Talk


Let’s get a conversation going this morning. I’ll start. 😀 I have a new mantra: It takes what it takes to tell the tale that needs tellin’. Bulky, yeah. Probably won’t look so great on a t-shirt. But I’ve finally realized that it embodies the way I write.

My beloved beta readers often ask me how many chapters will be in a book I’m working on. My answer is, I don’t have the slightest clue. I don’t work out the number of chapters at the start of my draft, because I never know where the story might take me. I know what it will be about, in general–where  it will start, and where it will end. As for all the stuff that happens in between, not so much.

I may have one or two things I know must occur, but overall, the characters tell me what they want to do and why. And I let them. Not because it’s how it should be done, but because it’s the only way I, personally, can travel from point to point. I turn my characters loose in a setting and see what they decide to do, and write it down. They almost always surprise me.

In my current WIP, That Darkest Place, all I knew going in was that I’d left one of my characters from Finding Hunter in a horrible mess, and another one unharmed, but unhappy. I knew what I needed to do to fix the first one, and that the second one needed to find an HEA by book’s end. And that’s all I knew. As the story began to grow, the details came pouring into my mind, and the overall theme of the book came to me:

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in, and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.” (Hunter Painter)

That Darkest Place is a book about brothers–how  they stand together in the worst of times, and help each other make it out of those black holes of despair. As I wrap up my draft, and get ready for editing, I hope I’ve been able to tell their story in a way that will resonate with readers everywhere. But whether it works out that way or not, I’ve been true to who the characters are, and how they relate to each other, in good times and in bad. I’ve told the tale that needed tellin’, and I hope I’ve done it well.

Now. Your turn. How do you do it? Do you work out every scene in advance, or go with the flow? Do you have an overall theme in mind when you begin, or does it grow out of the story in a more organic way? I’m hereby inviting you to share your thoughts and ideas today, so we can enjoy getting to know more about each other, and possibly learn a few new tricks along the way.

Let’s talk!


17 thoughts on “#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs – Let’s Talk

    • I like that approach, Craig. Some structure and but flexibility, too. Seems nicely balanced. (Sadly, no one has ever accused me of being nicely balanced. 😉 ) Thanks for your input today. Always nice to see you here.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I like Craig’s idea! I tend to be more like you, Marcia. So far, my characters operate within their own stories and I’m just writing it down. But, I’m starting the editing process on my latest and even looking forward to detailing scene sketches as Allison Tait suggested in her latest blog post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Angela! Thanks for stopping by. I get frustrated when I try to plan very far ahead, and it tends to make me not want to write at all. But we are each so different in how we go about the process, I always find it interesting. And sometimes, I actually do try new things. Now scene sketches is a concept I haven’t heard of. Do you mean sketches as in actual diagrams/drawings, or as in notes? And can you share a link to Allison Tait’s post? Would enjoy checking that out. Thanks! 🙂


  2. I echo Angela: My characters force me to tell their stories. Of course, I know them long before I type the first word, and I have a good idea of how the journey will end. Not exactly when or where, but my pesky fictional people insist I be true to them. Oddly enough, when someone criticizes one of my stories, I feel bad for my characters, not myself. I say, “Sorry, folks. Maybe you should have chosen a different writer!” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t like it when people don’t “get” my characters, either. Mostly, I haven’t had a huge problem with that. (Possibly they aren’t that complex?) But my husband truly disliked my favorite of all my characters, and it made me feel bad for a long time. 😥 Funny, how are characters boss us around, isn’t it?
      😀 Thanks for commenting, Linda. I’m still hoping we’ll hear from a few more folks. Would love to see how others go about this. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • OH, he doesn’t read them anymore. He hated doing so SO much, I finally hired one of my betas to do a final proof after the books have been edited. I would get so discouraged watching him sigh and groan as he plodded through them. He doesn’t enjoy ANY fiction, actually, so I tried not to take it personally. But, of course, I did. Now I don’t have to. 😀 We’re both happier. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Part of the excitement of writing is I don’t know what is going to happen and even new characters turn up uninvited. But I do use old calendars to keep a realistic track of time and the seasons, or if a character is going to be pregnant I like to know which trimester she is in. So off I go into free fall, but I check practical details along the way; the wonder of the internet, how long might it take to get from one place to another and how will that affect the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you there, 100%. I use maps to be sure I’m not plopping my fictional village down on top of a mountain resort, or to know how far away real towns and cities would be from it, so I can figure how long traveling between would take. I did the same thing with my pregnant character, keeping close tabs on how far along Sarah was. And I print up calendars from whatever year my story takes place in, and I carefully track the date of every chapter and scene. Those types of details are the ones readers will call you on, if you screw up the sequence, etc.

      When a new character pops in uninvited, I do a bio for him/her. At the very least, a paragraph with the pertinent info, so I won’t contradict myself later.

      But as for where the story is going, these people I invent move into my head 24/7, and tell me exactly what they want me to write down. And if I go off the rails and do something they weren’t expecting, especially if it causes them injury or heartbreak, they do NOT shut up about it. 😯 But, mostly, I put them in situations of my devising, and then write down what they do about them.

      Thanks for letting us hear from you tonight. I find this such an interesting thing about writers, and we each have our own ways of handling it. Nice to know yours. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t write fiction as you know, but when I get a book Idea I outline chapters of topics I’d like to cover in the book, list points I’d like to cover under those topics, and away I go with pen in hand! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a feeling if I wrote non-fiction, I would do that, too. I’m very organized with my files, and to do lists, and things of that nature. And in writing non-fiction, you often have specific goals and topics you must hit on, in order for it to work. Fiction is different. It can grow or contract as you see fit, even in the middle of the story. Characters and events pop into your mind and demand to be included. So it’s more malleable, shall we say. And for me, too much structure brings my creativity to a screeching halt.

      Thanks for sharing with us, Deb. It makes perfect sense to me that you’d work with outlines and list various points you want to be sure to include. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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