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The Inner Editor

This is the cover of book three of my new trilogy The Outcast Chronicles. With thanks to Clint Langley the artist and Solaris, the publisher!

I’m on the home stretch now, cleaning up book three ready to send to the publisher. Yesterday I was working on a scene when I realised I needed to add a new scene near the beginning to foreshadow an event and build tension. I’m a pantser. I have an idea where I’m going and a feel for what I want to say, then I go on a journey with the characters discovering the story as it unfolds.

I’m not alone in this. In an interview with Joe Abercrombie, George RR Martin said: ‘There are two types of writers – the gardeners and the architects. The architect plans the entire house before he drives a nail; he draws up blueprints, he knows how deep the basement is going to be dug and how many rooms there are going to be, where the plumbing is going to be. And then there are the gardeners who dig a hole, plant a seed and water it with their blood, and then they see what comes up, and they kind of shape it. I’m much more of a gardener. ‘ To see the full interview go here.

I don’t know if I could write any other way. It is a leap of faith, but I trust my Inner Editor to let me know when something isn’t working. And, after I’ve mowed the yard or cleaned the kitchen, the answer will come to me. I’ll know what’s needed to pull the story together.

For many years now, I haven’t been able to read books without seeing the writing craft that went into it, just as I can’t watch movies without seeing the art direction, the camera angles, the characterisation and plotting. When I do discover a book or a movie that makes me forget the craft because the story sweeps me away, then I consider myself really lucky. (And of course I have to watch/read it again to discover the hidden craft).

I’m beginning to think there is such a thing as the ‘story gene’. Sure you can learn all the writing or movie making craft, but some people just have the ability to tell a good story. Do you think there is an innate aspect to writing?

And just for fun – here’s a look at people and their on-line avatars.

(Cross posted to the ROR site).

  1. Here I am, leaving a comment so my post won’t be lonley! LOL

    May 14, 2011
  2. Last week I encountered a tasteless “Kids picture book” entitled “Go the F**k to sleep” Beautiful artwork, as the exasperated parent tried to get the child to go the *** to sleep.

    If I hadn’t been there and thought that (never said it!) I would have been utterly appalled. I’m close enough already.

    But having BTDT, and having been reminded recently of those nights, I think storytelling is a desperate survival skill, discovered when in parental extremis. 😉

    May 14, 2011
    • Oh, Pam, I do know exactly where you are coming from. I used to have a nursery rhyme book which I would read from while singing the children to sleep and sometimes, in my exhaustion, the book would tip forward and hit my face and wake me up.

      LOL, thank you for reminding me of those days.

      May 14, 2011
      • It’s beautifully illustrated. Check out the cover.

        May 15, 2011
    • It certainly is, and I’ve worked as a chidlren’s book illustrator.

      May 15, 2011

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