Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An excellent Adventure by Carol Oates

Every writer had their own routine, habits, and journey to “The End”. From the time I began stringing words together and forming those words into stories, my method hasn’t changed all that much.

Call me old fashioned, but I’ve never been able to part with my pen and paper in favour of a word processor. That comes later. Even back in the day, when I used a monster-sized manual typewriter, I always wrote in long hand first.

This is me. This is what the words I scratch and claw from the voices in my head look like. As you as see it’s a big ole mess and I’m sure it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to anyone but me. It’s filled with notes to myself, random facts, words or comments I hear when I’m out and about, as well as the basic storyline. But, it’s not just my basic stream of consciousness writing, not of this is in the order it will eventually end up in.

I use the Bill and Ted style of writing. If you don’t know who Bill and Ted are, they are a pair of most excellent time travellers. In other words, I go back and forward in the timeline and write scenes as they come to me. Generally that means I’ll have the ending before I know where the story begins, and the main character might get to kiss the hot guy before they’ve met. If I meet a locked door the character needs to go through, or a letter a character needs to read, I travel back in the story and leave the item where the character will find it to use later.

All this makes for a lot of messy pages but it works for me. Please feel free to share a little of your process in the comments. I’d love to hear.

Learn more about Carol Oates and her books by clicking here.


  1. I still love my notebooks, too. I use mine to keeps notes, jot down facts, brainstorm a bit when I'm not sure what comes next. And during my first drafts I'll leave myself notes to fill in conversations or write a scene once I know what's needed. Thanks for sharing =)

  2. Thanks for sharing your methods. Though I'm pretty much a word-processing guy these days, I'm planning a work of historical fiction, and I thought it would be fun to go back to writing longhand for that. I even thought I might use an inkwell and pen!

  3. Fascinating. I am such a linear writer (start at the beginning, move to the middle, finish at the end)--it amazes me to see how this method works for you.

  4. I have digital notes using stream of consciousness type ideas. To rephrase Tim Gunn, "Whatever works!" :)