Photo shared from The Writer’s Circle
Yesterday I read, “How to Abandon Your Outline to Improve Your Story” by Steven James in one of my favorite blogs, Writer Unboxed. I knew it was a good piece and timely for me when my brain popped with several ideas for the draft I’m working on in my new Spirit Lake mystery.
James offered great advice:
- Focus on story, not plot
- Let context guide you
- Always opt for believability
- Include more twists
- Fulfill your promises
- Get out of the way
Even though I’m not an outliner, writing a good mystery requires keeping readers (and me) guessing and entertained. That doesn’t happen without knowing where I’m going with the story. However, there comes a point where I forget to get out of the way and attempt to shoehorn the story into my plan. That’s when the creative process takes a backseat to being safe.
And isn’t that what often happens to us in our everyday lives as well? Our preconceived ideas keep us from getting out of the way and allowing more surprises and twists. Are you open to a few surprises today?
Happy reading and writing!
Good stuff — thanks! And I love the Robert Frost quote, too.
Thanks, Julie! I appreciate the comment. 🙂