Bett Norris


How I write

That’s how, not why. Usually, I write in a linear, beginning -to-end fashion. This new project is not going that way for me. It’s in bits and pieces, flashes of scenes. I wrote the ending. Don’t have a beginning yet. I have an idea of the plot, the arc of the story, but it’s not coming to me in a progressive, linear way. 

It worries me, leaving behind my tested methods, flailing around like this, taking jabs, flitting away from the target, instead of the steady punching out of chapter one, then two, then three.  It also occurs to me that this process of flitting becomes part of the style and tone of the book itself. That maybe I am writing in this manner because the main character is indecisive, and constantly shifting, nervous, uncertain of herself and her motives.

So I am trying to roll with the jabs, so to speak. To let it come to me in this way, because it informs me and hopefully the reader.  

The wonderful Ellen Hart once impressed upon me  the idea that every book, no matter the genre, biography, romance, history, is essentially a mystery with those same elements a good mystery must have to keep the reader engaged and eager to turn the next page.

This new book is a mystery to me, the writer.  I am anxious to see how it turns out.


4 responses to “How I write

  1. 'Nathan Burgoine March 14, 2010 at 7:52 am

    The way you’ve described is the “normal” for me when I’m writing a short story (which you’d think would be small enough to come out in order, but no.) So often I have an end before a beginning. Roll with it, and enjoy the mystery – I’m sure your readers will!


  2. Andi Marquette March 14, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Sounds like your muses are testing your boundaries. That can be a lot of fun, Bett! I tend to trust that my muses know what they’re doing, and I go with the flow, if you will, because I noticed that if I don’t, then the writing grinds to a halt. Do you do outlines, as well? Just curious.


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