The First One

“Pen, Paper, and No Plan” is a blog about writing and reading. I’ll blog about what I’m writing, what I’m reading, publishing, writing tools, writer’s block, inspiration, markets, and anything that has to do with writing. Occasionally, I’ll also blog about real life as that tends to slip into writing.

The title of this blog is “Pen, Paper, and No Plan,” and I chose it because of the way I write. I approach a blank page with a pen in hand and an idea. Outlining has never really worked for me until after I finish the first draft. I don’t know my characters well enough to say what they’ll do or say. My narrator usually goes over and over back story for the first twenty-thousand words until she–and I–figure out the story. New plot lines surface halfway through the novel. Characters appear ten thousand words from the end that should have been there from the very beginning.

All in all, the first draft is rough. The plan doesn’t come together until I write the final words. And then, revision works magic on the once bumpy sentences. I realize my plan through the pages of draft marked up with black and blue ink. It comes together in the end, and I have on my hands a polished, coherent piece of writing when I finish.

Writing is a a process. It can hurt and frustrate. It can also create a magnetic force so strong that a writer falls into her work. She doesn’t want to put up the fight to extricate herself when the real world demands her attention. I fight my way through every draft. I wrestle with my words. I sigh in frustration when things don’t come easy. But I love it, and I don’t think I can ever stop.


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