Methods of Writing: #1 Linear
I was asked recently how I write. Well, I just do. The truth is not often enough because I work full-time but I've tried 700 novel writing methods and I keep coming back to "Just Write It." For me, that means writing in a Linear format. Start off with a blank page, type in a working title (WIP is perfectly fine) and then type Chapter One, return twice, and start with sentence one. I just write and the story flows in a linear, how it should look in the finished version of the book, way.
Now, of course, the Linear Method is not for everyone. I can't even say if it is always for me as I have tried, and I'm totally open to continuing to try new methods and approaches. I am an educator and I loved being a student so learning is always welcome in my world. However, I have to say that I absolutely hate, as in despise, as in detest, when some people calls it "Pantsing." They are referring to the Linear Method (as I call it) being nothing more than a writer just flying by the seat of his or her pants. First of all, "pantsing" sounds like it should describe something that drunk college guys do to each other as an initiation, it certainly doesn't have a very nice ring to it. Those that call a Linear writing style "pantsing" view pantsing as the opposite of planning. They say a writer is either a Pantser (first time I read that fast, I thought they were calling certain writers Panthers...) or a Planner.
The reason I don't like this comparison is that it insinuates that those who write in a Linear style don't plan. Not true. I might write the scenes as they will appear in the finished product (ideally) but in my mind, I have future scenes, pivotal interactions, and most importantly, the ending, already envisioned. The key is that they are only envisioned, not committed to paper yet so "Planners" don't feel these eventual scenes don't count until committed in some way to paper. I disagree. As long as I know where I'm going, I don't need a minute-by-minute GPS system to get me there.
One of my personal reasons for favoring Linear Writing is that I feel some planned writing, or methodical writing, systems waste too much of the author's time. They require note cards, systematic fill out this or count out these methods, or they take outlining (an otherwise true love of mine) to the extreme. I find that if I pursued any of these methodical systems too rigidly, I burn out on my own story before I even commit a full chapter to paper. However, in the spirit of learning and exploring, I plan to look into and evaluate several different writing approaches: Snowflake Method, Marshall Plan, Outlining, Note-Carding, and Mind-Mapping to begin.
As for a break-down of my Linear Method, the steps are:
1.) Have a solid idea for a story;
2.) Have a general audience in mind: middle grade, young adult, adult, mystery readers, women, etc;
3.) Have a general idea of where you are going. What kind of story do I want to tell?;
4.) Know where you envision yourself ending up. The ending may change by the time you get there but overall, you know where you are going;
5.) Start writing.
This method certainly isn't for everybody, but is it for you?