As much as I want it, planning out my story with outlines and chronological listings isn’t something I do. To me, it’s really boring.
Instead, what I have is an overarching theme or an idea that I will set my stories in. Then I will have a rough draft of characters who will appear in the story. Along the way, more characters will be invented to create more sub-plots that ultimately join up and conclude the book.
That was what happened at the beginning of The Tainted Forbidden Love. There was a sudden story that appeared in my head when I woke up on a Saturday morning. Like any ideas, if you don’t write it down, it will fade away and then you would feel meh when you try to recall or revisit it.
Below is the notes I wrote after jumping out of bed and picked up my phone.
When the writing started, only one character was named. He’s none other than Dexter. As the writing continued, I introduced the second character, Shane.
After that, I didn’t really stop to think about what I was writing. The words were flowing through my mind and I simply let the story take me along for the ride until chapter 3. Along the way, more characters came along and I created sub-plots without thinking much.
By the time I started writing Chapter 4, the words stopped coming. It was the dreaded writer’s block. And I spent months (March to October) struggling and only managed to put in a few paragraphs here and there. Even had two depressive episodes, each lasting several weeks. I was blaming my day job and my colleagues then for making me so exhausted.
But the ending was already known as I always wanted the story to end that way. To make myself feel like I have achieved something, I wrote that ending first and then work backwards to fill in the blanks during those months.
It was only on Nov 3rd, 2018 that I closed off the last plot thread in that novel as part of my editing process. In hindsight, it definitely looked like I am suffering from a severe case of procrastination with a healthy dose of perfectionism thrown in.
The funny thing is, I won’t have it any other way because it is my process. I own that shit.
And you know what?
Go ahead and read the chapters I have already published and compare it to that screenshot of the notes I’ve written. You will notice that it had diverged. And that’s the thing about being a pantser and not a planner. Sometimes you will create something totally different that could be better than what you have planned. I love it.
I will also include the links to the published chapters below: