Thursday, January 22, 2015

Which comes First? Writing or the Plot?

You've probably heard the chicken and the egg quip.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


I was thinking of this quip this morning as I went about my day and wondered how it applied to writing; for, as you know, much in life has to do with writing :) and it occurred to me that often, at least in my own writing, the outline comes after the writing and not usually before.

I have some general ideas of the plot, but, can I be honest?

Most of my plotting comes with the writing, when the character speaks in my ear and the setting and other characters follow closely behind.

And I don't think it really matters.

The tricky part comes when you're writing a mystery story and you have to have all your eggs in one basket so to speak, but I think, as a general rule, as the story moves along, so does the plot.

There are times, mind you, that I have to stop writing and do a little research, but again, as soon as the research is done I can return to my story.

How about you? Do you write by the seat of your pants like I do, or do you schedule ahead? And if you schedule, how closely do you stick with your plans when you finally get down to writing?

Would love to hear.



  1. I used to think I was a pantser, but I've discovered that my first draft is my outline. I have write the story as it happens to figure out what happens next. Then I can figure it out from there.

  2. Donna, Good point. I usually do at least 5 drafts of my book so it's great to think of the first draft as an outline. Thank you for sharing :)

  3. General outline, then let the characters develop the plot. Lots of edits along the way...

  4. The characters sure have a great way of telling you what to do :)

  5. I like to have an outline first. I find things go smoother if I have at least a general idea of where I'm going. Honestly, just about my favorite part of writing is plotting the whole story. I love finding all the little pieces that tie it all together. But stories are alive and ever evolving. I can't even count how many times my characters have done something that surprised even me. It comes out of left field, but you love it as soon as it hits the page and you have to keep it. I don't know that there's a right way and a wrong way to approach creative expression. I think it's what works best for the writer, or artist.

  6. Thanks, Aaron. You're right. What's important here is to do what works for you and allow your characters a real speaking voice when they jump in and say they want to change something :)


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