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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Do You Know Where Your WIP is Going?

Do You Know Where Your WIP is Going?


I have one more chapter to write in my WIP – maybe two – before I run out of planned material and take a leap into the unknown.

Okay, maybe it’s not as dire a decision as the one indicated on this sign (which my husband photographed on a recent business trip to Aspen.) I mean, I don’t think death can result from writing a novel without an outline … but I’m not really sure.

I have all the elements. I have a story idea – a mystery, a romance, and a little history. I think I know how it will end. I have the various nuts and bolts: two caged graves, an Indian massacre, clues in a diary, lost treasure, a love triangle, a swamp, legends of the undead, poison, and war. I probably have more than I need, and when I’m done, I fully expect to find some unused parts laying around.

Because I don’t really have the plot hammered out yet. And I’m not sure I can plan it out too far in advance, because my characters have their own ideas. I have found that if I give them the space and time to develop, my characters may lead me down unexpected paths. (Hopefully not that path marked with the skull and crossbones, though.)

That’s why instead of an outline, I just have a list titled: Events That Will Probably Happen Soon.

Writing a new story is an adventure, a leap into the unknown. And as a writer, I should be prepared to take some false paths and maybe even discover that the story I planned is not the story I’m going to write. I need to let the characters play and grow and frolic through whole scenes and dialogues that I’ll cut later. The order of events may change; some scenes will be cut and others added. I may even need to throw out the beginning and start from a different place.

All this is good, because creation = chaos.

Do you know where YOUR WIP is going?

7 Responses to Do You Know Where Your WIP is Going?

  1. salarsenッ says:

    I’m glad you seem at peace with ‘the unknown’. It’s okay. Well, actually more than okay. I love it that way. It’s exciting and alive.

    And nope. No idea where I’m going with my new one. Wrote an episode for my blog today and only have a few clues about my new character. I can’t wait to watch her unfold.

    Best of luck, Dianne.

  2. Candyland says:

    I know the feeling. I’m in the same spot with mine except, I’ve only just begun!

  3. I think that whether you have an outline or not, the characters are gonna do what they wanna do. More often than not I end up deleting, adding, or rearranging scenes from my outline in order to suit the characters. Good luck and have fun!

  4. Becca says:

    Not knowing is fun sometimes. When I was writing my first wip, I had no idea where I was by chapter 4. I knew what needed to happen eventually, but it wasn’t there yet. So I typed a random sentence about a cookie, and it helped me pour out an unexpected chapter that ended up leading to more an more.

    If I just force myself to write, stuff just comes out, and then I get out of bed in the middle of the night to do a happy dance because I just figured out the ending that I’d been missing since day one.

  5. JEM says:

    My WIP has a funny way of getting a big head about itself and writing its own storyline. Even WITH an outline. Blurg.

  6. Sort of, kinda of. I have a general outline and know how I want the story to end. Seems the story tends to reveals itself as I write. Some of those revelations are ah ha moments and others are oh my..what am I going to do next.

  7. Jen says:

    What a perfect post for me today! I’m actually a few chapters away from completion of my novel and I know where I need to go but I’m having a little difficulty getting there… maybe tomorrow the flow will happen so I can finish off strong!