When the draft for Ragged Heart was finished I thought, OK, edit over the course of the year and somewhere along the way begin a new novel. I realised, very soon, that I wasn’t writing; my target is a minimum of 600 words per day.
The guidance I read time and time again is that writers must read and write constantly.
A new novel had to be started, the idea came to me one night in bed, and so I commenced work on ‘The Sagittarius Incident’. A scifi/disaster story.
A couple of weeks ago I read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’, after seeing it quoted time and again. Wonderful! Highly recommended. One particular thing stuck in my mind, Stephen recommends not plotting. Get the story/situation in your mind then write. Build the plot/theme/symbolism during editing. He says that if he gets to a point in his story where he doesn’t know what is going to happen next, effectively as the first reader, then that suspense will carry on to his readers. Plotting can make the story stilted and contrived. It made sense.
So, with ‘The Sagittarius Incident’ I have dispensed with plotting. ‘Ragged Heart’ took two months of plotting and research before writing a single word. My new book hit the ground running with over 7000 words in three weeks (yes, well below my 600 words a day, I do have other commitments!). Already, in this story I have come to the point where a daughter is mentioned as having a rare disease, nothing more was stated to hold the suspense. Future readers will be curious to know the illness, guaranteed, because even I didn’t know what the disease was going to be when I wrote it!
It lets the story tell itself, more organic. I’ll run with it for the new book and see how I feel at the end. Will I go back to plotting? Time will tell.