The writing habit: Pants or Plan?

This is a debate I keep having with Lillian Heart (my porn-buddy, and the reason I’ve been self-publishing. Go check out her work, it’s great.) What is the best way to write? Do you plan every little detail, making piles of notes? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants, and write it all without any forethought?

Undoubtedly it’s a question of balance, but finding that exact balance seems to take a long time for each writer – because no two writers will approach it the same way. So how do we find that balance?

I’ve been experimenting with writing different ways recently. I have two notebooks. One is a notebook of story ideas to ‘Pants’. This notebook just has very rough thoughts. For example, the notes for Breaking the Stallion (warning: spoilers) were:

D tries to find T. Catches other horse instead. Brother? 

Everything else – the other 6000 words – were written as I went along, and with that in mind, I’m rather happy with the outcome. Since it takes so little time to write down ideas like this, I’ve got several potential series listed this way, across multiple genres, kinks, and lengths. This notebook also fits into a pocket, letting me carry it around and note down ideas wherever I am.

My other notebook is much larger unfortunately, but it needs to be. It is a full A4 pad, filled with loose sheets up to A2 in size, all covered in scribbles. Plots, character bios, flow diagrams, and even maps, fill the pages.

Needless to say, this takes a lot longer, and I’ve never had the persistence to write a whole novel down to the very smallest detail. Still, there is something nice about running with a well-thought-out idea. It makes the actual writing easier, as you’re never stumped. You know exactly what you’re going to say next.

Despite these first experiments, I’m not certain where I fall on the spectrum of Pants-ing and Planning. I’ll keep you all updated with my findings, and hopefully come up with some ideas to help you try the two extremes yourself.

The writing habit: Prompts

Ah, the oldest problem in the book. Writer’s Block.

I recently discussed this with a fellow writer (who, not being in the erotica scene, shall remain nameless.). He said he wanted to write, but did not know what. It’s a problem which I’m sure we’ve all come across before.

My advice was the same I follow for myself, when I’m unsure what to write: Use a prompt.

It doesn’t even have to be anything fancy. My friend thought I meant find a prompt generator online, which seems overly complex to me. Instead, turn to a book near you. Pick a page at random, and pick a word from that page. Pick a couple of words, either next to each other, or from different pages, if you want to.

For my final Uni assignment, I was given (by a different friend) the prompt of ‘Vomit’. That was all – and I had to plan a full-length novel off this.

So. Vomit. Not much to go on? Actually, lots.

Is there vomit? Can we see vomit? Why can we see vomit? Who has vomited? Do we even know? Are they ill? Are they poisoned? Are they drunk? Where is the vomit? A prison bucket, a drain, outside a nightclub, on someone’s shoes? The possibilities are endless. Just run with it. Play with it a bit. Who would be the worst person’s shoes to vomit onto? Maybe your employer, when it’s 10am on a Tuesday and you’re meant to be working? That’s an awful time to be ill, but a worse time to be drunk. But why would you be drunk? Is your marriage falling apart? That’s awful. It’ll only go downhill now that you’ve been fired from your job from drunkeness. And where would you go then? Would you join a crime syndicate as a small fish, trying to earn some extra cash doing drug runs? But maybe you’d work your way up, and get noticed by the police, and suddenly you’re trying to be an upstanding citizen again to earn back your spouse’s trust, so you’ve become a double-agent. Or maybe those drugs were more sinister than you thought, and you’re actually hooked on the worst kind of drug ever . . . as for what it does? Maybe it’ll turn you mad. Maybe the whole book is a decent into madness. Maybe it’s going to make you a super-strong fighter. Maybe it’s actually just lengthening your life, and you have to live with the fact that every time you prolong your life, it’s by exploiting the people who make this drug. Maybe you have to decide to go off the drug, realising you’ve become a monster, and you realise that you’re slowly wasting away, and watch yourself dying, and we come right back round to vomiting away the last liquid in your body, knowing that this is, in fact, the end, but that you’ve brought it on yourself. . .

 

See, isn’t writing from a prompt fun? Or seriously depressing, but interesting either way.

I’d definitely recommend trying it. You might not write something you like, and you might never turn the ideas into a full story, but it’s something. Just getting the creative juices flowing will hopefully help break your writer’s block. And even if just one idea from your prompt session can be used in your current piece, it’s still a win.

 

I’d love to know what you all come up with from prompts, so if you give it a go, please do share your prompt and your ideas 🙂

Apologies

Hey folks, Isabella here. First off, my apologies for vanishing for so long. I’ve had PC trouble, but have finally got a new laptop and am able to return in full force.

So, what is in the pipeline? A few new books: The Personal Assistant book 2 will be on its way, as well as continuations of the Horse Rider series and the Cat Thief series.

As it is my least popular series so far, the Stolen Love series is currently on hiatus, but if anyone wants to read the next instalment sooner, let me know and I’ll get to work.

Happy Easter everyone, and hopefully I’ll be less pathetic at staying up-to-date from now on 🙂