• Jonathan Wheatley Writer

Where do stories come from?

Some writers knock out a new book every few months, while others once every few years, but what takes so long and where do stories come from?

It has long been said that there are two types of writers: Plotters and Pantsers. Plotters know everything about their novel before they start; plot, characters, settings, themes, while Pantsers take a ‘by the seat of your pants’ approach to writing.

Neither is better than the other. They are simply two different ways to get to the same ideal point. Which is a completed novel. Famous Pantsers include Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Pierce Brown, while famous plotters include John Grisham, E. L. Stein and J. K. Rowling.

Plotters start with an outline, a character, plot points and even the ending all worked out. Pantsers will start with an idea, it could be something as simple as ‘what if everyone in the world disappeared tomorrow?’ then introduce a character and just start writing.

I belong to the Pantsers. I have tried both, however, I found that when I plotted, my stories died, I lost interest in them myself–the enjoyment of not knowing what would happen next disappeared. My debut novel the Priory will be released in 2020 and started as three short stories from three very simple ‘what if?’ questions.

As each story grew and took me along with it and the characters, I combined each story into a longer overreaching narrative. I would write chapter-to-chapter, sitting down with my target of 1000 words a day and see where it took me. Then that evening, usually when I was in bed, I would ask myself what happens next…

Luckily, the idea (or an idea) would come to me ready for the next day of writing. This isn’t to say I didn’t follow a simple book structure, as after-all if your book doesn’t have a structure it can become a mess that goes nowhere. I just took the writing of the story on a day-to-day basis.

Your first draft will always be a mess, remember that. It was during the first edit, where I could move chapters around and create a stronger structure that the story really took shape. I have followed this writing style on for my second novel and am sitting pretty on 13,000 words in ten days.

I am proud of the Priory, as it is the first novel I have completed from beginning to end. It clocked in just under 80,000 words and took somewhere around 150 hours to complete. It was picked up by an independent publisher in Chicago and will be released in 2020.

Plotter or Pantser? Which writer are you?

For more information and up-to-date release details for the Priory and two free short stories, please follow this link.

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