I’ve just read an extract from Robert McKee’s book Story suggested by one of our writing group. Story discusses screenwriting, but I believe that whatever writing we do we can learn from different sources.
This extract was on writing methods, and McKee describes two – Outside In, and Inside Out.
To generalise, my take on these two methods is that Outside In is writing by the seat of your pants. You get an idea and just go with it, not sure of the destination, or even the road you’re taking. Inside Out is planning – indeed Robert McKee suggests that at least 2/3rds of the time to write a screenplay would be taken up in the planning stage. This is the method he advises screenwriters to use, though he does add that ultimately a writer has to discover what works best for them.
I tend more towards planning in my writing style, though after reading this I can see that I could probably spend more time in the planning stage than I have for the novels I’ve written so far, and it did make me wonder if I would spend less time in the editing and rewriting stage.
One of the points that resonated with me is that in starting to write too soon we can fall in love with our words, and then it’s harder for us to be objective in seeing why some scenes don’t work, or even realising that they don’t work. I guess that takes us back to the famous line of murdering your darlings.