Railroading

More on novels today. I know it may seem weird but it actually helps when you write a novel if you don’t have too much of the plot worked out at the start. If you go too far ahead and structure everything before you write it I find it actually hinders the creative process. It often gets you writing yourself into a hole and a big ol’ square writers block. I tend to write events based of what my characters would do in a given situation, instead of letting the plot or what I want to happen drive the story. It sounds crazy but you will actually find your characters can do things that surprise you and drive the story in a direction you hadn’t thought of. Obviously it’s not the characters doing this but not having too rigid of a structure allows your brain to be a little more creative. It also makes your characters more three dimensional. Your characters will do little things aside from the main story that you might find you can develop into whole new plot. Nobody wants to read something that doesn’t wander a little, otherwise it would make for pretty dull stories. You don’t want it to get too out of hand though or you will end up with a huge and pointless book.

The trick (at least with my writing) is to write what you want, give your characters a bit of freedom, drive them in the right direction from time to time. Once you feel that you are finished go back to it. Cut out all the crap that doesn’t really fit or that bores the hell out of the reader. If you feel you haven’t expanded on something you could have then add some stuff in. The point is to do this after you have written it, otherwise you will get too slowed down or you will write yourself into a hole.

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