Saturday, January 12, 2008


Margaret wants to know:
Collage, interview with characters. I'd be interested to hear how much preparation you do, Nicola, before you start to write? Do you plot your story out in detail or write into the mist? I know you write very quickly so I guess you must have some idea of how it's going to pan out.

I used to be a confirmed plotter.
Yes, I had an idea of key scenes (though not the whole book.)
Yes, I'd jot down one or two lines per chapter (though this tended to happen more when I got a bit stuck in the 'sagging middle')
And yes, I'd start with a 2 page proposal (with pics of hero and heroine) having some idea where the book was heading.
Then after a mid-07 chat with my last ed, I've changed how I work.
My books were plot driven.
She suggested I go with character, hence the change in my preparation. For my last 2 books, I started with character: did the interviews, knew them inside out before starting.
So how did that work out? Well, I'm waiting to hear back from new ed on both those books so I'll let you know ;)
The collaging is fun and gives me a 'mood' for the book, so I've done a collage for my last 4 books.
The character preparation is way more time consuming than anything I used to do (I spent hours last night, on top of previous hours!) but I now feel confident to tackle THE DATING DILEMMA, knowing Bryce and Eve are going to leap off the page.
I hope!
So do I plot in detail? No.
But rest assured, once I start this one and the thrill of the first few chapters has faded, I'll be jotting down that brief chapter by chapter outline, whether I stick to it or not. :)
So how do you do it? Are you a plotter or a pantser or a little of both?


Margaret Mayo said...

Thanks, Nicola, it's so interesting to see how other writers work. I'm a bit of a plotter and a panster. I plot the first few chapters but after that I wait to see how things are going to develop.

Rachael Blair said...

I think I'm in between plotting and pantsing. Definately used to be more of a pantser but like you Nic, I'm concentrating more on character before I start now. Would love to know what kind of questions you ask your characters before you start??


Caitlyn Nicholas said...

I was really interested to read this post. I'm a confirmed plotter, if I don't have a plot I tend to wander off, get stuck in dead ends and repeat myself. However, this has led to my writing being extremely plot driven, just like yours was. I've just taken up collaging and its helping, but I think the main thing is the keep focussing on character.


Nicola Marsh said...

Great comments, ladies.
I really love hearing how other writers operate.