Twenty years ago I met a Colorado author who has made quite a difference in my life and in my writing career. I was introduced to Sue Viders at a meeting of a Denver romance writers’ group and that meeting has made a big difference in my life and in my writing. I knew Sue’s name before I met her. Her early book, Heroes and Heroines on archetypes was a book many would-be romance writers considered a “must” read if one wanted to write a successful romance, and I had also taken several of her writing classes. ,
After meeting in person, Sue and I soon became critique partners and then as our friendship progressed we discussed how much we both enjoyed learning the writing process as well as teaching it.
. Before long we were not only helping each other with our individual fiction works, but we were also teaching classes together and then while we were both pursuing our own fiction careers together, we decided to write non-fiction and fiction together.
We are the exact opposite in so many ways, but that combination worked wonderfully when we began writing together. She is very focused on details and structured writing while I go off into the ozone all the time., The combination works well, because so many writers don’t fall into just one category. As frequent teachers, we also realized we could help writers of all different types – the structured, by-the-book writer and the writer who flies off into the ozone to create a story organically by instinct.
From the first, we also both agreed there are certain things every writer needs to know Years of both of us teaching and working with fiction writers has demonstrated to us how differently writers approach the creative process, but the final goal is to provide a book that is readable and interesting to the reader. The result of what we’ve learned over the years about the different types of writers is available in our new co-authored non-fiction book, Writing Tips for All Types of Writers
What are the differences? Some writers choose to plan every detail, while others write instinctively. Another group uses a combination of both techniques.
The result of that knowledge made us want to write a book of writing tips that could speak to both types of writers as well as those who used both techniques.
2 - Intuitive/instinctive writers
3 - Hybrid/combination writers
If you’re not certain about which type of writer you are, we suggest you can try all the different tips we offer until you find the one that best suits you.
Not certain of what each means? Here is a breakdown:
The planning and plotting writers are like Sue. They want the characters defined and determined in advance. She also makes up character charts and writes down a defined plot all the way down to what is contained in each chapter before she starts the writing process.
The non-plotter is like Becky. That sort of writers like to let the character show themselves on the written page. Becky writes the book but keeps a list of those descriptions and vital information as she is writing. Then ,as she is editing she makes certain those elements stay true to the book itself.
The hybrid writer does both. They start out with a vague idea of what they want in a character and write that down, but leaves room for the character to develop or change.
Both know that some writers also use a combination of both methods. Fiction writers must choose for themselves how they want to write their book, but the process usually falls into one of these three categories.
The key element in all of these methods is to keep track of what you’re putting into the book. The character who starts one way at the beginning may grow and change, but that change doesn’t happen overnight. The development occurs inside the pages of the book.
At one point, after teaching writing classes separately and together for years, Sue and Becky decided to sit down and share their learning with other beginning and developing writers. The result was a new book of writing tips.
Whether you are a seat of the pants author, a carefully planning author or the type who uses a combination of approaches, the tips can be of help.
As one of their students recently told them, “I wish I’d had that book when I was starting out.”
For anyone looking for help, the book is now available on Amazon.Oh, and we have also made it through writing a new fiction book which should be published soon. Yes, we used the planning approach together, as well as the “seat of your pants” approach to get it written. The book is in the editing phase, and it’s only the first fiction work in this collaboration between a planner and a non-plotter. The two can work together -- even for two very different writers.