Inspiration and Serendipity, my parents loved to travel when I was young. Once, they took me to Singapore. This was not the Singapore of today with its high rises and western culture infused into the city. This was when Singapore had few tourists, when the local people rarely saw white children with blue eyes. I experienced a vast range of different foods at a time when the standard fare in Australian restaurants was prawn cocktails and crepe suzettes. I learnt to use chopsticks and ate dishes which included fish, rice, beans, and a whole range of unidentifiable ingredients. Mum taught me to be open-minded with my food.
What does this have to do with my writing?
When I first started writing I'd sit at an empty page and pour out the story without having pre-thought about the characters, the plot, or anything. I was in love with the romance of the journey of discovery. I held on to that method, dismissing all those who outlined, not listening to the possibility that planning could be just as fun and offer a greater advantage in the long run. Instead I'd stubbornly cling to the notion that I knew what was best for me, without even trying other methods.
My mum's voice floated back to me from those days of travel and new experiences. She reminded me that my stubbornness was like saying I didn't like certain foods without even trying them first—and I don't mean trying them with a preconceived idea of hating them, scrunching up the face to nibble a morsel as if it were poison. I mean giving them a proper go.
So I gave outlining a go—a proper go. I spent a month working out my characters, planning their story arcs, creating a world for them and plotting their scenes. I had a brilliant time and I quickly discovered the advantages. I could see the story as a whole before I'd even written it. I could take out scenes without having to pine over lost gems. My work became efficient, my writing became tight, and my story had a cohesive flow it didn't have before.
So, my advice is, don't say no to a possible method before you give it a proper go. You won't truly know whether or not it works for you until you try.
What are some methods you've stubbornly clung to only to discover later that a different system worked better after all?
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When Lyndsay hears the terrible news about her soldier boyfriend, Ben, she knows she must be strong; but just how strong, she is yet to discover…
The story encompasses young love, tragic circumstances of war, heart-breaking let downs, temptation and youthful determination to surmount and survive all odds; with the reader wondering which direction Lyndsay will ultimately choose to go.
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