So Ya Wanna Be A Writer, Huh? : Part 2

Many writers outline their stories and keep notes on characters, and that’s certainly the recommended method especially if you’re looking to complete long-form fiction such as novels.

Me, I never use ‘em. That’s probably a bad thing, but let me explain.

If you’re reading this right now, the chances are it’s because you’re interested in writing, or at the very least you’re a fan of good stories. For me, a good story is one where I can’t work out the ending. I don’t care if it’s a book or a film or a television show, I’m always trying to work out how it all ends up. If I can figure out the end, I call it out and quickly lose interest. My wife hates that, especially when I’m right.

What can I say, I can’t help myself.

That’s also how I feel about story outlines. If I know how my story will end, chances are other avid readers will be able to figure it out too. The knowledge that other folks read my work and enjoy it is a huge honour for me. The last thing I wanna do is insult their intelligence by giving them a predictable outcome. Sometimes it’s different, though. Sometimes I’ll get an idea for a story ending, and then I have to work out how to get there. Simply put, I don’t like having all the answers. What I do is start writing with a general idea, and hope for my mental autopilot to kick in.

Writers know what I’m talking about when I say autopilot. It’s a point you reach when creating fiction where you forget the conscious act of writing. The words are coming and the events in your story are unfolding, but it’s almost like you’re not in control anymore. It’s like the tale is revealing itself to you, like you’re a conduit.

It might sound like bullshit, and it doesn’t always happen when I sit down to write, but that’s what I aim for and it’s the best way I can describe it.

For those of you who are considering writing, my advice is to just do it. What are you waiting for?
Hopefully you’ll discover your own autopilot or zone or whatever you want to call it, because that’s when you’ll be doing your best work.

Trust me.

– Robert Dominelli