Last week I talked about the mechanics of thrillers and writing to trends.
This week I want to talk about why forgetting shit can be really valuable.
I’m the kind of writer who needs an outline. I respect people who can write by the seat of their pants—that ain’t me. My outlines don’t need to be super intense (usually a couple of sentences per chapter), and a lot of times I’ll diverge from them. But I need a general sense of where I’m going.
I learned this as I was writing my first book, New Yorked, which took me five years to finish. I was just writing blindly, and had to keep finding my path. I re-wrote it from the ground up twice. It tried to outline it three or four times after I’d already written it.
I went into my second book, City of Rose, with a solid outline, and it took me four or five months to write.
Which, granted, I knew my character and I found my process, and I had more confidence. But the outline helped a lot.
Remember: writing advice is mostly bullshit and you have to take what works for you and trash the rest. Maybe outlines don’t work for you. That’s fine! But I do have a trick for them. I even found another place to apply that trick, in my research. Continue reading