Sarah Stegall
seat of the pants writing
Mon Aug 16, 0:43

I'm late to the party, as usual.

Bruce Olds says, "I suspect that there may actually be writers who dummy-up an outline of their stories in advance, but for me, and virtually all of the writers I know, it is strictly an ORGANIC, by the seat of the pants, flying blind undertaking."

You don't have to suspect it, Bruce. You know one. Me.

You know my mystery novels which include the ghost of Wyatt Earp. I've done tons of research on Wyatt, and yes, there does eventually come a point where my tired brain decides enough is enough: no one really cares, even on this board, what kind of lint was in Wyatt's pockets during the Vendetta Ride.

But to write a novel, especially a mystery novel, involves PLOT. And in a mystery, one must lay out *two* plots--the one that explains What Really Happened (to be revealed slowly as the story progresses, through the efforts of the detective), and What You Tell The Reader, which is mostly true clues buried in a ton of false clues. Trust me when I say, you can NOT make this sh*t up as you go along. The form pretty much requires an outline. Said outline may be changed, revised or outright abandoned at some point, but it would be folly for a mystery writer to start writing without one.

If, as you say, "the product arises willy-nilly, catch as catch can, out of the misbegotten blue from the process of its production" for *you*, that doesn't necessary apply to other writers.

You know I'm in awe of your stories and your prose style. But we write very different types of historical novels. And unlike you, I feel duty bound to hew to the facts as known. :)

    • Because I am old(s), forgot to addolds, Wed Jun 16 19:39
      a footnote with respect to the differing approach to historical research employed by the researcher/historian and the researcher/historical novelist and how that difference impacts the decision about ... more
      • seat of the pants writing — Sarah Stegall, Mon Aug 16 0:43
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