Randall’s Ramblings – 21 Feb 2016

Many thanks to my faithful followers. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Why I want to Write–What’s Led Me to This Stage in My Life

Since 2015, I’ve been learning about fiction–what it is and isn’t.  First thing to go – my reliance on expository writing.  One thing I’ve kept is my use of outlines.  After decades of relying upon an outline when preparing lengthy reports or operating procedures, this became second nature.  Even in my graduate degree programs where the exams were all essay, short outlines were recommended before diving into writing.

I read an article about fiction writing where the types of writers were described:  plotters and pantsers, with a third group who can’t make up their mind and use both methods.  Pantsers, literally writing “by the seat of their pants” have no idea where they’re going or how they’ll get there but this flexibility allows their creativity to burst forward.

Plotters, such as myself, use a systematic approach to their writing.  While this can sometimes be daunting if a change is needed, it’s still a feasible approach.  When I begin writing, I create a general premise for the story. This  provides me a potential starting point and a climax.

Then I begin chapter outlines – nothing complex at first.  Perhaps a timeframe, which major characters will be involved and a line or two about the chapter.  I’ll do this for about ten chapters before I begin writing.
As I complete a chapter, I’ll return to my outline and do two things. First, I’ll look at the next few chapters and adjust as needed, perhaps different characters, more about the chapter content.  I’ll also begin adding more chapters as I described earlier. 
This might sound like a lot of work, but looking back, I’ve spent 2-3 hours per week doing this. Not a great deal of time in the grand scheme of things and works for me.
My Work in Progress
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve completed the first draft of ‘The Kurdish Connection’, with a total of 108,800 words.  Now, the heavy work will begin–rereading the numerous critiques, selecting what works for me, and then making the changes. Sounds easy, but I’ll also be cutting out unnecessary scenes/dialogue, adding bits and pieces and will try to catch all my typos.
In addition to editing, I’ve started on the outline for ‘A Cartel’s Revenge’, using my approach discussed above.  I hope to have the first chapter posted on the subscription websites within a couple of weeks.

Blog Posts I’d Like to Share

Each week I continue to skim through dozens of blogs, sometimes for enjoyment purposes only, and other times to help stimulate my creativity. Today, I’d like to share the following blogs with you. Both use poetry to motivate and inspire others.

A Whispered Wind – great mix of inspiring poetry and awesome photographs.
Giggles & Tales – more inspirational motivational poetry to brighten your day.
Books I’m Reading

This week I read ‘Bloodridge‘ a novel by D.S. Kane.  Here’s my thoughts:

Lies, deceipt, intrigue, love, sorrow, mystery–that just the opening chapters! A great mix of political maneuverings, crosses and double-crosses as our characters race around the world trying to stop a militant group from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and wiping Israel off the map. Alliances forge and fall as countries strive for what is best for themselves. A fast-moving story with something for everyone.

Writing Resources

This week I’d like to mention two addition books I’ll be using as I edit ‘The Kurdish Connection.’

Writing Fight Scenes – step-by-step means to create breathtaking fights.

The Writer’s Guide to Character Emotion – create realistic character expression and emotion.


That’s all for this week’s edition of Randall’s Ramblings.  I hope you’ve found something of interest and will join me again soon.  If you think a fellow writer might benefit, please pass the word along.  Likewise, if you think of anything to improve my ramblings, please let me know. Thank you for stopping by!


7 thoughts on “Randall’s Ramblings – 21 Feb 2016”

  1. Randall, I enjoyed your explanation of how you do your basic outlining. Basically a “pantser,” I am finding that my writing is needing more organization and direction, and I think I’m moving more into the “plotter” mode with each passing day. I’ll use your methods as an inspiration to help me through this tangled web of a novel I’ve been weaving for a few years now! All the best to you and continued good writing. 🙂

    1. Hi Mark, Glad you found the information useful. If you would like any assistance, please let me know. Will also offer to give a read/review, too. Best regards, Randy

    1. Many thanks. I’m taking a bit of a break from The Kurdish Connection and starting the first chapter of A Cartel’s Revenge. No rest when the brain’s in “dump” mode.

  2. Hey Randall, I understand your need for outlining your fiction, but what do you do when your characters take your story in a totally different way than you’ve planned? Is there a lot of adjusting you have to do? I just plan out scenes here and there to give me an idea of where I want my story to go, then I let my characters drive the story the rest of the way.

    1. Good question. Because I don’t add a lot of meat to later chapters, it hasn’t been a problem. In fact, quite often it helps me add more depth to them, so no, there hasn’t been a lot of adjustments. Those who add too much to later chapters (for me that’s more than say 5-6 down the road) they do have more adjusting to do. Hope this helps!

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