|Uncle Albert during his national service|
After a few moments of thinking (I only do that thinking stuff in short bursts. I don't want to burn myself out with too much of it) I realised it depends on what words he was asking about. By that I mean dialogue or action. I never used to be a planner but a few years ago I attended a couple of weekend writing retreats organised by the Scattered Authors Society and from that time forward I started to plan (although very loosely).
Bad Manners Benjie!) I discovered I plan the action. I know what's going to happen and when but the conversation I leave to the characters to write.
For example for my latest work in progress (a collection of shorts stories rather than a picture book) I have the following scribbled in a book (I do my writing directly onto my laptop but my ideas and planning are done in one of my many note books. I've a growing collection of them with some of the really lovely ones still empty, as I just haven't had the heart to write in them yet). Sorry I digress. These are the notes for one of my short stories:
- Character A is out for an evening stroll when he overhears a conversation between characters B, C and D
- They are planning revenge for a trick he'd played on them the day before.
- Characters B, C and D agree to meet in a few days once they've had time to come up with some ideas. At this time they'll agree which is the best idea and start to plan their revenge.
- Character A decides to break into homes of characters B, C and D to see if he can discover what their ideas are.
- etc. etc. etc.
As you can see I know what is going to happen but I haven't a clue what the characters are going to say. This includes the internal conversations my characters might have. You see by the time I get to the writing stage I know my characters (I've live with them in my head and often have conversations with them), so when it comes to writing what they say they can do the work for me.
Therefore my answer to Uncle Albert was a bit of both, which seemed to satisfy him as we moved onto another subject.
So my question to the writers reading this is the one I was asked, "do the words just come?"
I also write for Authors Electric - a collection of writers who have self-published some or all of their work.