Different books, different approaches

I’ve started another book this year, this time YA, but still SF. One of the things that stuck in my mind from last years helping out with the Summer Reading Challenge is just how much some of the younger readers loved the books they read – and what it was they liked about them.

It would be great, I hoped, if I could inspire that joy through a book.

Whether or not it turns out to be the case, only time will tell. However, the ideas are there (as always) and now the basic framework is settled scenes are tumbling out.  I’ve been dumping down ideas, threads, structure…. and found that scenes are popping into my head left, right and centre. It’s a real struggle to get them down in time to stop them disturbing my sleep with their insistence on being noticed!

What’s strange is that it’s not normally how I work, but because these ideas are cascading out, are interfering with planning the more detailed plot from the general structure I had in mind. Because they were so insistent, I thought I’d give in, write the scenes that insist on showing themselves, and only then go back and write the connecting scenes and sort out the details.

It is odd – accepting such an approach makes life easier for this book as the scenes almost write themselves… and the connectors just fall into place, becoming placeholders in the way I normally work.

Some of the themes are difficult, not only to do with teenage themes of first love, loss and identity, but more adult themes concerned with identity in a futuristic, colonial setting. Though it’s disconcerting to do so, by giving in, I’ve found the primary characters falling out of the scenes and solidifying quickly (the Hero and the Mentor are well established, already, looking at it from a Mythic Journey perspective). Technically speaking, the Allies are aleady established, as are Enemies, and the Journey and Elixir are shaping up well.

It is very different from doing my normal planning. I’ve had to go back over the written work more than normal though, as changes are more frequent, and I’ve not yet had a chance to upload everything into Scrivener – which bothers me – as scenes are coming too fast. I’ll have to upload it soon, though, in order to manage the book as a whole…

However, it is incredibily enjoyable: I love it when characters speak to you and make their own story as you go along. Sure, you can tweak them back on the path, but the fact that you, the writer, has to do that is something I enjoy immensely.

I’ll see where the journey takes me…

3 thoughts on “Different books, different approaches

  1. How interesting! I work differently to you in the sense that I never plan anything and just let everything tumble out at once. This ‘braindump’ approach is the only way I’ve managed to write the vast chunk of my first draft of a novel. I’d love to know how you plan your work. I’m now in the planning process of trying to pull together a story out of lots of loosely connected scenes. Your novel sounds like an intriguing premise with lots of interesting themes. I think it would definitely resonate with younger readers.

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