Writing a Novel By the Seat of My Pants—and Loving Every Minute of it)
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, so I wanted to take a moment and give everyone an update about what’s been going on with me and the writing.
First off, work has been super busy lately, and in the past, this has prevented me from writing as much as I’d like. (Given that my first book took 12 years to complete, this should come as a surprise to no one.) However, I’m happy to report that this has NOT been the case lately. I’ve been writing religiously most mornings, and am super-energized about my new book. In fact, I’m averaging about a chapter a week, and will probably have the whole thing finished by the end of January. (Which means you’ll most likely be able to get your hot little hands on it by April.)
So, you might be wondering, how did Mr. 12-Year Guy became such a productive writer?
Well, there have been a couple of changes. First, I’ve actually put my second memoir on hold. (It’s the one about my introduction to the world of energy healing.) And while I still feel that it’s an extraordinary story that needs to—and WILL BE—told, what I’m writing now is so much more fun. Because it’s fiction.
Yeah, that’s right. I’ve taken the plunge and am actually writing a novel. And you know what? I love it!
There’s no more struggling with, how does this scene relate to the next one? Is my transition/bridge working? Or, is this scene boring? Only interesting to me? Or, how can I couch things, so my friends and family members don’t get pissed off about how much I’m sharing about our personal lives here? Trust me, all of these things—and more—come into play when you’re writing a memoir or work of non-fiction, since you have the task of being both truthful—and entertaining. And let me tell you, it’s not easy. So, I tip my hat off to the greats—people like Erik Larsen, who are able to pull off that tightrope walk, time and again, without plunging into the abyss.
What I’m finding right now is that, with a novel, you don’t have to deal with any of that. If something’s not working as a story point, you just go ahead and change it. Simple.
Another benefit is there’s no need to endlessly outline—or plan. All you need is a basic idea of where your scene is going, and the creativity flows the minute you touch the keyboard. So, writing becomes a fun experience, where you get to laugh (or cry) along with your characters, as they bring themselves to life before your eyes.
In one of my Goodreads writer’s groups, this technique is called, “seat of the pants” writing. And I have to say, bring it on! If you outline your story to within an inch of its life (which I’d previously done with my first book), it can sometimes feel like a chore when you actually sit down to do the real writing. However, allowing yourself the luxury of discovering your story, like a reader does, is truly a joyful experience. And I recommend it to anyone.
But this is not to suggest that my new book is a lighthearted romp. It’s actually a somewhat dark dystopia, set just a couple years into our future. (But there’s a really cool twist that I think you’re gonna like. And I can’t wait to share it with you.)
It’s time to get back to the writing. And guess what? I’m stoked about that!
Paul Amirault is the author of The Man Who Sent the SOS: A Memoir of Reincarnation and the Titanic. His second book, a debut novel, will be published in April, 2018.