From straight pantser to ever so slightly plotting along.

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I used to be a straight pantser.  (Someone who writes by the seat of their pants instead of plotting with an outline, etc.)

Never did anything, not even writing down character notes, before starting a novel. My mind liked it, but my manuscripts became a bit of a nightmare to edit. It’s hard to keep track of characters, plots, and timelines when NOTHING is written down.

And your memory is a bit shit.

Now, I do better.

I plot a little. I’ll never be a true plotter. Outlines bore me to tears. So, I’ve found a compromise that works.

Stage One: Faces, Names and Places

Three things I usually do before anything else is to pick the location of a story, the novel title, and visual references for the characters.

I’m not a very visual person, so I definitely need an actual image to picture while I’m writing.

Stage Two: Build out a Book Bible.

I use thin A5 Muji notebooks and fill out little character questionnaires for the main characters along with notes about family/friends. I also jot down a loose timeline. I find this helps keep the novel on track, but also with writing newsletters and blog posts once I’m done with the book.

Stage Three: Media.

Before writing, I build two essential lists. A musical playlist, my current WIP has a mostly country music playlist. I also create a TV/movie list. I find watching shows or movies based around the theme of what I’m writing can really help me get in the mood.

For The Royal Marine, for example, I watched a lot of Bake Off. For the Grasmere trilogy, it watched Poirot, of course.

Stage Four: Let’s Play Pretend

This is the stage where I’m usually supposed to be giving myself a writing break, but I’m chomping at the bit to write.

Stage Five: Write

Self-explanatory that involves a lot of coffee, sobbing, and hitting my head against the keyboard.

If you’re a writer, are you a pantser or a plotter?

 

Country Road Take Me Home

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In At War with a Broken Heart, Fie is obsessed with country music. I thought I’d share some of the songs from his playlist with you. Just a few.

  1. Fightin Side of Me by Merle Haggard
  2. Same Old Train by Merle Haggard
  3. Mama Tried by Merle Haggard
  4. A Lifetime to Regret by George Jones
  5. Highwayman by Waylon Jennings
  6. Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash
  7. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
  8. Against the Wind by The Highwaymen
  9. To Beat the Devil by Kris Kristofferson
  10. Big River by Johnny Cash

Do you listen to country music at all? If so, what’s your favourite?

Natasha – The Playlist

Inspiration

The music I’ve been listening to while writing Natasha:
Trouble by P!nk
Some Nights by Fun.
I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons
Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons
Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
My Life by TLC
Demons by Imagine Dragons
Stubborn Love by The Lumineers
Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson
Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson
Mercy by Duffy
Right to Be Wrong by Joss Stone
Devil’s Backbone by The Civil Wars
Hell on Heels by Pistol Annies
Dealing With the Devil by Imelda May
Mayhem by Imelda May
Trouble by Ray LaMontagne
Hard to Handle by The Black Crowes
Fire by Babyface
England by The National
Love the Way You Lie by Eminem
Killing in the Name b Rage Against the Machine
Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong by the Spin Doctors
Wing by Birdy
Have a Little Faith in me by John Hiatt
Skinny Love by Birdy
Not Over You by Gavin DeGraw