The Faber Method, or: Plotting as you go

Okay, there isn’t really a Faber method.  It just makes a nice title.  But I did want to share my technique with you.

I’m one of those hybrid writers; I plot when I need to and pants the rest of the time.  I don’t fill in character sheets or complicated plot outlines before I write, but I do make a lot of notes as I go.  I fill in scene cards in batches, as the scenes occur to me.

Why is my method better than anyone else’s?  Well the short answer is, it’s not.  It’s just another way of doing things.  And if you find filling out endless pages of detailed notes before you write bores you to tears, you might find something here that works for you. Continue reading


What I love about writing, what keeps me pushing through the dross, are the moments of inspiration, the subtle mental click of a piece of the puzzle falling into place, that inner shout of “YES!” that nobody else hears.

That warm glow.  That shining moment.  That perfect knot tied into your story.

I had one of those moments this morning, and it was all I could do not to shout “eureka!”  That would have been bad for several reasons, not only for the waking of the small man, but also for the raised eyebrow of the partner.  Instead, I merely smiled in a fatuous, self-satisfied way and continued on with the narrative.

Today’s moment drew together a throw-away comment from the beginning of the book, which turned into the basis of a character motivation that I never knew about, but answers so many questions.

And that explanation is meaningless without context, so you’ll just have to believe me.

I write with an outline, which varies from complicated to simple, depending on how much I know about that particular scene before I write.  This does not in any way preclude serendipity.  For those people who fear that outlines will somehow restrict their creativity, I say, pish-posh, in the strongest way imaginable.  PISH, POSH.

Whether you navigate through your story with a road map, or navigate by what you can see in the headlights (veering and bumping madly, I might add), serendipity happens, and it’s glorious.

That’s all.  There’s no point to this post.  Well, there was, but I think my coffee just ran out.  Maybe that’s the point; don’t write a blog post when you are low on caffeine.