Phase Writing

Over the course of December I’ve been trying out a writing style that I came across during NaNoWriMo and instantly fell in love with. It’s called the Phase System, created by Lazette Gifford. While I haven’t gotten far enough along to explore its full process, I have confirmed my love for the overall process thus far.

I am a plotter. I suffer from World Builders Disease and Over Plotting Syndrome. I write linearly vs non-linearly, which means I often struggle with finishing a story considerably more than with editing it (Post #2 on this forum is a good example of the differences). Basically, my process involves me plotting and world building for extensive amounts of time when I should actually be writing after a certain point.

To make matters worse, I am a character driven writer vs a plot driven one. That generally means my story develops a bit slower, and my character control the vast majority of where it goes. This leads to a great deal of stress when my characters drive the plot in a different way than I imagined they would. It also leads a great deal of re-plotting after I finally begin the writing process. That may or may not lead me to work on my world again. Once I start working on my world again, it’s going to be a while before I actually write.

This system I ran across is helping me tremendously with that. It allows me to plot while I write, which is giving my characters the opportunity to lead me wherever they want to go. I began a test run of it yesterday on my Pirates vs Zombie Apocalypse collaboration, and I have to say it’s working very well. I haven’t gone back and filled in the gaps yet, nor have I had to go through an edit yet, but the writing process itself is running smoothly so far, which is a very good sign. I am both envisioning the story, and plotting it, and allowing my characters to run me along their set path. If my phase to story ratio holds similarly to hers, I plotted about 5k of story yesterday with almost no effort, compared to my usual struggle.

I am going to give this a test run for the entire duration of 2013, and possibly 2014 (depending on how much editing I accomplish this upcoming year). With any luck, it will hold up to the expectations I have set upon it, and I will have finally found my niche! I’ll update the blog here and there with how it’s holding up, and how it is working out, but I have extremely high hopes so far.

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2 Responses to Phase Writing

  1. I am very interested in the idea of this. I always jump in unprepared, but unless I want to go through a lot of edit cycles, I think that figuring out where I am as I go along would be a very useful thing. I’m a very linear writer, and in the beginning, my ability to see ahead is low – but that changes the more that I write.

    I will mull this over and perhaps try it for myself!

    • rcwrimo says:

      It was a little hard for me to get used to it at first because I had to visualize ahead at a faster pace then I normally do. I couldn’t stop and write dialogue while the next scene formed in my head. I’ve gotten used to it for the most part now, though, and it seems to be helping my pacing a bit. I won’t know for sure until I finish a book (or at least a section of one), but I really think it’s worth a look for just about anyone. 🙂

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