i have no idea

On WritingLet me tell you what my fiction writing process is like.

Imagine you’re hungry. You’re hanging out with someone–a friend or your spouse–and you mention the rumble in your tummy. (Don’t look at me that way. Horror writers can say ‘tummy’.) Your companion says they’re hungry, too, so you offer to venture to the kitchen to find some grub.

“What are you going to make?” they ask.

“I don’t know,” you reply.

“So, you’re going to see what’s there and then make a plan?”

“Nope,” you say.

“Then, what are you going to do?”

“I’m really not sure,” you say. “I guess I start adding stuff and see what I come up with.”

That’s how I write. (Incidentally, that’s also how I cook, at least sometimes. Believe it or not, I’ve created some fairly tasty meals with the no-plan approach.)

When I start something–a story or even a novel–I don’t have a plan in the back of my head. Sometimes, I don’t know how the whole thing is going to resolve until I get to the very end. Sometimes, I get an idea of the conclusion somewhere along the way, but I never really know specifics. Take the series I’m working on right now, The Dark Calling. It’s pretty far along. We’re getting close to some kind of climax. I know, in very general terms, how that’s going to go down, but I have no idea who’s going to live and who’s going to die. I shit you not. There are major characters in whom I’m deeply invested, and I can’t even tell you if they’ll live to see the end of the story.

I simply don’t know.

While that might sound like a chaotic, crazy approach, it’s what makes writing fun for me. If I knew everything upfront, there would be no adventure in it for me. I actually like being in the dark. (Ties in nicely with the whole horror writer thing, doesn’t it?)

If you’ve never tried writing that way, I recommend it. Start something. Think of an interesting scene or a premise, drop a character or two in it, and then just write. Don’t allow your mind to race ahead to the end. Resist the temptation to tie neat little bows around your tale before you’ve even told it. Instead, let it take the lead and follow it. See where it wants to go.

Granted, it may not be an approach that works for everyone, so your mileage may vary. But even if it doesn’t work for you, you’ll grow a bit as a writer, I’m certain.

Give it a whirl and see what happens.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

10 Responses to i have no idea

  1. Great food analogy. And fun finding out how you go about writing – I had no idea you’re one of the brave souls who like to wing it like that. Pretty much how I do it too. Start with a scene and some characters, and see where they take you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      It’s actually a lot more fun for me than planning out the whole plot. The only problem is that sometimes things don’t end the way I want them to…


  2. Well, I think it’s pretty clear that I write this way. Ha ha. I’m not sure I could follow a pre-scripted outline. Maybe I’ll try one day.

    Agree with this post, obvs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      I think it shows in your writing, Hazy. In a very good way, I mean. It’s got the feel of real life to it.

      Whatever you’re doing, it works! Keep it up!


  3. diannegray says:

    I love the way you cook! I often make things that are fantastic and when asked to make it again I can’t remember the ingredients and it never turns out the same. I guess that’s why I write cross-genre 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      Funny thing is, while my cooking is almost always good, my wife hates that I constantly experiment. If I make something she likes, I can usually remember what I did, but I want to mix it up the next time, so it rarely turns out the same. Granted, she ends up liking the newer version more often than not, but never without a mild protest.


  4. dumanae says:

    Thats how i do lot of my poetry and journaling. free form writting i let the words guide me the way they want to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. P. C. Zick says:

    I feel as if my writing is a buffet most days – a little bit of just about everything that doesn’t always hold together!

    Liked by 1 person

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