It’s like macrame…

I have this great idea! See, there’s a villain, and he’s got a hideout in a gravity-shelter underground on this other planet. And there’s a hero, right? And he’s got psychic abilities and then they fight and a war breaks out and they hide from nuclear fallout and then the villain dies.  Isn’t that a great story?

Believe it or not, I have been approached with…a variety of scenarios over the years.  Not this one precisely, but others that have been outlandish, disorganized and most enthusiastically presented.  The hopeful writer is generally convinced that their idea is amazing and original and mindblowing.

And indeed, it may be.  But it lacks … well…

It lacks discipline.  I tell authors about self-discipline often.  To me, this is one of the KEY MUST-HAVES if one wants to work as a writer.  DISCIPLINE.

It does not mean spanking or whips or chains…so just tug your mind out of the gutter. 😉 Discipline means a structure for growth. For development.  A writer needs that.

So does her story.

<=== Do you think this kind of artwork happens without a plan? By  no means. The macrame artist has a plan.  She monitors the tension in each strand of string, braiding and designing and crafting knots at the appropriate intervals.  She does this knowing there will be a support, or that it will hang “just so” and works to make sure the structure of the creation will work.

The pattern is secure. There aren’t a bunch of oddly spaced loose ends dangling without form or function. This is a work of art and it requires discipline to achieve.

Just like a novel.

There are many ways to achieve the balance of tension necessary to achieve a work of fiction that is coherent and comprehensive. One way is to outline.  Another is to put different pieces together – like a quilt – and work the pieces into a glorious whole.  But both ways require some planning. Some idea of what the final product will look like.

For me, I HAVE TO KNOW where I will end up before I get much beyond chapter one when I write. I might write one chapter just because an idea won’t let me go. But if it goes much beyond that…I want to know where my story is stopping.  Then, I make a plan to get there.

Tomorrow… I’ll detail How Sandi Makes an Outline.  I know, sounds pretty boring, but if you want to know, I’ll be here. 🙂


  1. Marinella · May 2, 2011

    I do want to know 🙂

  2. Sandi · May 2, 2011

    Tune in tomorrow! 🙂

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