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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Linda Poitevin

This post is part of Linda's Virtual Book Tour celebrating the release of her debut novel A Fairy Tale for Gwyn. Linda will be giving away a pair of artisan-crafted earrings as well as a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press (a total prize package worth $20) to one lucky commenter.

Her other stops can be found here. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Writing the Right Way

To plot or not to plot. That is but one of the questions that plagues many a writer, particularly those who are just starting out. Well, relax. Because, despite the fact your high-school English teacher might have tried to convince you otherwise, I’m telling you now that there is no one way of doing anything when it comes to creative writing.

Frankly, it would be a heck of a lot easier if there were just one right way. I can’t think of anything nicer than a handbook that worked across the board for all writers. Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything more boring, either.

The truth is, the path to telling a story is as diverse as writers are…and as diverse as the stories themselves. Some of us fly entirely by the seat of our pants (pantsers), having no idea where the story is going until we get there. Others plot down to the finest detail, outlining events down to each individual scene. Some create elaborate character sketches, others prefer a less formal approach. Some start with a synopsis; others need to write the story first. Is any one of these approaches the single “right” way to write? Only for the individual author who uses it…and maybe not always.

The process of crafting a story is a fluid, ever-evolving thing. What works for one story (or ten) may not work for the next. Issues crop up (stubbornly uncommunicative characters, plotlines wandering off track) that require fresh solutions, and the wise writer is one who remains open to learning new skills and trying new approaches. Trust me, it saves a lot of headaches when you quit beating yourself senseless against that proverbial brick wall!

So whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at this a while, do talk to other writers to see how they handle the storytelling process, but don’t try to fit yourself to their mould. Instead, take what works for you and craft your own approach. Be prepared to abandon things that don’t work, and always be on the lookout for ideas that do. Learn, evolve, and always remain true to your own unique voice.

Gwyn Jacobs doesn’t believe in happy-ever-after.

Ever since her ex-husband walked out four years ago, abandoning her with a toddler and infant twins, Gwyn has been mother, father, and bread-winner all rolled into one. Her own scarred heart and failed marriage aside, she is determined not to open up her children’s lives to the possibility of another heartbreak...until her very own fairy tale falls into her lap -- and the hero won’t take no for an answer!


Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

I think you nailed it when you said you couldn't think of anything more boring than a handbook with one right approach to writing. Viva la difference, right?


Linda Poitevin said...

Absolutely, Lisa! I love nothing better than finding a writer with a great 'voice' and while I think learning the craft helps develop that, I don't think there's just one roadmap for getting there.

Thanks for commenting!

Author Roast and Toast said...

Great advise. Do what works for you.
But learn a bit about plotting just to know what it's all about.

Linda Poitevin said...

Good point, stressing the importance of individuality, I may have understated the importance of learning the craft -- something no writer can do without!


Debra St. John said...

Love the blurb.

And you are spot on about there not being "one right way to write". Thank goodness. It never seems to work the same way for me twice!

Congrats on your release!

Linda Poitevin said...

Thanks, Debra! And no, it doesn't work the same way twice for me, either . It would be so much easier if it did, but far less interesting. :)

Btw, congrats on hitting bestseller status with Wild must be thrilled!