Reader-to-Writer: Changing my perspective #2 – Writing to a formula

I have a formula. It’s called – the Pied Piper formula: write one sentence and the rest will follow.  I wanted to stop the post there, but it’s not actually why I wrote this post. It does however explain how I got to my ending.

I was worried about my book not following the normal formula for Urban Fantasy as I see it: there’s a crime to solve, a baddie to uncover, a love interest to fall in love with. Yeah, I guess I have some of those things going on, but I don’t have what I feel is a normal ending. I guess it could be seen as a cliffhanger. But to me, it’s where I felt the book needed to end. And the reason I introduce a new element? I don’t want readers to be annoyed if the tone of the book is adjusted a little in future books; I want them to know that there is something bigger at play and that I’ve thought about my world from book 1.  Some people don’t like being surprised by an element they didn’t sign up for.

So I got there in the end, and so far, no beta readers have wanted to slap me silly with my own ending.  And now I’m thinking about a bunch of readers sitting around a room talking. “Did you beta?” “No, I came second.”

It’s like helping my daughter with a maths problem. Let’s say it has something to do with ducks. In my head I’m saying the answer, “Seven.” My eyes are also trying to communicate the word, seven, telepathically and my hands are saying, “Let’s get there by working it out this way.” *starts depicting ducks as straight, neat lines* She’s doodling on her note pad, ignoring me while I keep forcing my ‘working out’ process down her throat and we get nowhere. So I walk away. And when I come back, she’s drawn  and coloured in 49 little ducks in haphazard groups. It’s taken her longer to get there, but when she does she has a smile on her face and incidentally, so do they.

So although I would love to have all my ducks in a row, I would pick those little smiling blobs of craziness over mine any day.


8 thoughts on “Reader-to-Writer: Changing my perspective #2 – Writing to a formula

  1. Yes, trust your instincts. I presented a short story to my writers group before having it workshopped at school. One of the writers expressed that she thought my beginning three paragraphs were out of order. I had started the story with a line of dialogue that had inspired the story. I went with the advice anyway and reordered/rewrote the beginning. Much to my dismay, I received feedback from the workshop that they didn’t like the beginning. I explained what it was before the rewrite. There was pretty much unanimous agreement that it would have been better in the original form.

    Go with your instinct. Not that I will not listen to advice anymore, but I will be more likely to trust my instinct on the larger issues..

    • Yep I think like with relationships, there are deal breakers. Some things we can compromise on and some things are far too entrenched in who we are that we have no choice but to stick to our guns. I think that if two or three beta readers picked up on the same thing, I would seriously revisit that issues.

  2. I don’t think it’s at all necessary to plot the entire book before you start. If you did, you’d either be trapped into writing something that was stale before you started, or waste all that time planning when the characters you created started exercising their own freewill to take the plot where it was supposed to go rather than where you thought it should.

    • So when authors say they send their “outline” to editors and such, is it pretty detailed I wonder? Or is it just a basic skeleton. I would have thought it would be detailed chapters.

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