Of Plots and Pants

I write my nov­els in bursts. Writ­ing N words every day is a mantra that doesn’t work for me. I must visu­al­ize the whole chap­ter at once (or at least get an aha! moment for a cer­tain scene) before I can write even a sin­gle sen­tence of it. That requires days of brew­ing the sto­ry in my head. Some­times those chap­ters get writ­ten in sev­er­al steps or parts depend­ing on their size. A 2k chap­ter is usu­al­ly done in one go in a sin­gle day or two. A 5k chap­ter can take a week or two, because I return to it over and over and add stuff (some research required). Things hap­pen to get added a month lat­er.

I have fin­ished the first part of my WIP (12 chap­ter total­ing in 31k) and I can say that out­lin­ing doesn’t work for this sto­ry either. Sure, I wrote quite a detailed out­line for the whole thing (100k planned) and after slow­ly going through the first 12 chap­ter I can safe­ly say that this out­line is for some oth­er nov­el I’m not cur­rent­ly writ­ing. So I scrapped it and now I’m just going for­ward with a vague idea of the out­come of the whole thing. Which makes it more inter­est­ing to work on — I get sur­prised, I let the char­ac­ters freely dri­ve the plot and the inner log­ic of the world starts to dic­tate things well. At this point I don’t know what an end­ing scene would look like (I don’t even know what the next two parts will be like), I just want to get there organ­i­cal­ly. But I do know that there will be an epi­logue with a scene from the far future, I just have to pick the right place in time for it; I have sev­er­al can­di­dates for that one, none of which make any the­mat­ic sense now, since I don’t know the first end­ing yet.

I admit that I’m mov­ing at a snail’s pace here, but this sto­ry requires slow devel­op­ment. I’ll prob­a­bly con­sume a whole crate of red wine to cel­e­brate after I’m done with it. 😀

What are your writ­ing habits and meth­ods? How do you get the job done?

Jeno Marz
JENO MARZ is a science fiction writer from Latvia, Northern Europe, with background in electronics engineering and computer science. She is the author of two serial novels, Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements and Falaha’s Journey into Pleasure. Marz is current at work on a new SF trilogy. All her fiction is aimed at an adult audience.


  1. My writ­ing process sounds very sim­i­lar to yours. I think I picked it up in uni. I couldn’t write a sin­gle sen­tence of my paper until I had a title. Same goes for my writ­ing. I need that one, good sen­tence to start, and I need to have it ful­ly visu­al­ized in my head. I take solace when I find oth­er writ­ers who work sim­i­lar­ly!
    My recent blog post: Nure Onna: Snake Woman

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