Kernels and inspiration

Posted on September 19, 2011


Some time back I had the opportunity to interview US author, Diana Gabuldon. While discussing her approach to writing, Diana revealed that she develops a novel as groups of individual kernels of writing, eventually pulled together into the finished product.

Late last year I had the opportunity for a fifteen minutes one-on-one with author David Malouf. After briefly discussing my university research project, Malouf encouraged me to write scenes as they occurred to me, not waiting to begin writing.

As my urban fantasy continues to take shape, I find that I am increasingly applying both approaches.

Being one of nature’s anal-retentives, my tendency is to want to start at the beginning and write straight through to the end. But inevitably, sooner or later, I find myself stuck. When that happens, my work usually stalls. But what rule says I am only allowed to write in that linear fashion?

Over time I have slowly realised that creativity means being prepared to go outside that natural inclination, relax the inhibitions and let go.

As a result, lately I have found progress with the novel is becoming increasingly productive and meaningful by taking a particular part of the story and writing that as an individual kernel.

I use the yWriter program (a freebie and a little ripper!) to develop and write the novel. If a kernel does not fit into the chapter and scene structure already in place, I can slot it into a ‘yet to be assigned’ chapter. As things continue to develop and grow, these kernels seem to naturally fit somewhere in the expanding structure.

When I find myself thinking about a new piece or kernel, I start writing on it as soon as I can, if possible. At the least, I make some notes ready for when I can start work on it. And those project notes have their own place within the yWriter structure.

This seems to be a good way for me to write, although only time will tell just how effective it ultimately proves to be.

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