Thursday, July 11, 2013

From Brain to Page: How Kelly Jamieson writes

In this series, we'll be talking to different authors about their brainstorming, outlining, and drafting processes. Want to be involved? Send an email to with the headline "From Brain to Page".

From Kelly Jamieson:

These two pictures are page 1 & 2 of my plotting notes for HOW TO LOVE – usually they are hand-scribbled, but this one happens to be typewritten because when I was working on this manuscript,  I was taking a course and I had sent it to the instructor for feedback. There are lots of scribbled notes and sticky notes as well! 

I plan my characters and the main turning points of the plot, what the character will learn, the decision he/she will make at that point, and where it will fall in terms of word count, based on the length of the book I’m planning. I’m not a really detailed “plotter” because I’ve found if I plan too much, then I lose interest in the story and don’t want to write it any more. I like to be surprised at what happens when I get inside the heads of the characters and make them come to life.

Sometimes if I’m not sure what exactly has to happen, it doesn’t work for me to sit and think about it — I need to just write and let the characters figure it out. But I do like to have some structure so the story isn’t wandering aimlessly all over the place. I like to have those “turning points” and I envision the story headed toward those as I’m writing.


PG Forte said...

OMG, I love this series already! Off to find some notes I can take pics of for when it's my turn.

Also, Kelly, I love those sticky notes!

Skylar Kade said...

Kelly, for turning points, do you normally stick to a three-act structure and use those turning points as tent poles for your plot?

Kate Davies said...

Kelly, this is awesome. I had something similar - post-it's and scribbles and notes - that I used to share with students when explaining why first drafts weren't final drafts. Glad I'm not the only one!

Kelly Jamieson said...

Yes Sky - usually 3-act structure unless it's a novella, then I might have just 2 main turning points.