Thursday, May 6, 2010

Are You an Evie or a Millie?

Blog readers, meet Evie:

 She is obviously adorable.

Although when Evie plays she totally spazzes out and makes me a little scared for her intelligence, for the most part Evie is extremely methodical. She chews her food carefully. She burrows into the covers for hours on end until she finds the right amount of coverage. She nudges and prods me over and over, minute after minute, while I'm trying to write and get important blog posting done, and it drives me totally insane and then I yell at her and scare her and she runs away, but since she's obviously adorable I feel terrible so I call her back and tell her I'm sorry, and the whole thing starts all over again, until she finds just the right spot by my supple body to snuggle. She's a planner.

Now, blog readers, meet Millie:
 She is also obviously adorable. And yes she's wearing a t-shirt. We are so Those People.

Millie scarfs down her food in about two seconds. She gets under the blanket with one swift nudge of her nose. She moves right in next to me because she knows exactly where she wants to sit - no planning required. 

When I was thinking about the vast differences in my two dogs today, it occurred to me that their personalities perfectly mirror the two kinds of writers. And if I were to talk about this on my blog, I would be able to post pictures of my dogs. Who are obviously adorable.

Some writers outline. They work through their plot scene-by-scene, thinking what will happen when and to whom, so that when they start writing they have a plan. They might even exchange the outline with a trusted crit partner to see if the book has a leg to stand on before they start writing. These are the Evies of the world.

Other writers don't outline. They just open up the Word document or their Pages (I'm a Mac user now, remember) and start typing. Of course, they have an idea in their head, and I'm sure they have a line or two written out, and a general sense of where they're going. But for the most part they just find of write, and let the story grow organically and see where it takes them. These are the Millies of the world.

When I started writing my current project, I didn't outline. I definitely knew where I wanted the story to go, but I didn't write it out. I think I had too many bad memories of writing outlines from school - and I'd never outlined in school, either. (Here's a confession, in case any of my former English teachers are reading this: I used to write the rough drafts before the outlines. Then I'd turn in the outlines as if I'd written it first. I just liked it better that way. Go ahead, revoke my diploma.) Not outlining kind of worked for me. Two of my most vibrant characters (and ones that my crit partners have loved) popped up as I was writing, and were totally, completely unplanned. I'm not sure if that could have happened if I had an outline.  
But now that I'm starting to think more and more about my next project (even though, don't get me wrong, I am still no where near done revising this one), I think I'm going to give outlining a try. I'm not going to go all crazy and snowflake or anything - that's intense. (Plus I live in Florida. So obviously I'm not a fan of snowflakes.*) But I will try to write out the major scenes, characters, that kind of thing. I definitely see the merit in it, and how it might help me identify some of the weaker scenes in the book before I waste the time writing them. Of course my rough draft might still be a mess, but as someone who's new to novel writing, I think it can't hurt to try something new.

So...are you an Evie (a planner) or a Millie (a non-planner)? Why? 

Or, are you a little of both?
This is an old picture, since my hair is long and that's my crappy old Dell and not my awesome new MacBook. Also it's not a very good picture. But apparently I'm not a good dog mom because there are approximately 0 other pictures with both dogs in them. Oh well.

*Actually, that's a lie. I effing love snowflakes.


  1. SO cute! Thanks for sharing those pics Heather.

    I know this sounds like a lazy answer but I really am a little in between. I do a very basic skeleton outline, then I vomit words onto the page until a first draft is done.

    Then, since I've usually written at least twice as many words as were necessary I revise, sometimes editing for length for months.

    (I've actually only written one novel, but this is how it has worked for me so far).

  2. I'm still trying to figure this out, actually. I don't know. :-\

  3. I'm an Evie.
    Ironically though, my dog Yvie (also pronounced Evie) is more of a Millie

  4. I think I'm more of a Millie, but the other day I was stuck when I was writing, so I started to do some outlines of chapters I'd already written and then all of the questions that I felt weren't being answered in those chapters. So I may have been having an Evie moment.

  5. This is too funny! I'm kind of in between. I outline, but not in huge detail, so that things are still new and exciting when I write them.

  6. I love your doggies! I have an Evie and Millie as well (Slightly and Squishy). Lol...I'll have to steal your idea and tie them into something to do with writing so I can post pics on my blog!

    As for me, I'm a Millie--although, I have ventured into outlining. Just a little bit. I had so many ideas for the second half of my book that I had to outline them to get them in some kind of order.

    Now my word count is getting too high again--sigh!so I'm going to go back and check the outline for any scenes I can possibly cut before I write them. Hopefully that helps! I definitely prefer just sitting down and writing with no plan though!

  7. I'm totally an Evie. My outline for my current WiP is over 20 pages!

    Love your puppies' names, btw! And they're so freaking cute!

  8. I guess I'm a little bit of both. I do a kind of freewrite/ brainstorm and let the story grow from there. Then I inevitably get stuck and decide an outline is just the thing I need... until I get bored of outlining. Then I go back to creating as I go.

    And the thing you said about writing a rough draft and then outlining in high school, I totally did that too.

  9. I'm a little of both. For the most part, I don't plan and don't outline. Or, if I do outline I don't bother to even look at the silly thing while I'm writing (nano 08). For one book, I am outlining now the first draft is finished to make the rewrite a bit easier since it's in a different pov.

    We never had to outline much in school and I forced my way through it when we did have to. In college, I found the papers I planned out ahead of time in classes like honors English and such did okay but not great (B instead of A). But when I wrote them last minute, with little to no preparation, then I did very well. I managed to write a 20 page final paper in public policy in one night and got an A on it.

    Oh, and... awwwww. Both dogs are adorable.

  10. HA. I'm a Millie kind of writer, which is so odd, because in every other aspect of my life I'd probably be a Evie.

    Love the pink shirt, by the way. I tried to get my dog Pepsi to wear a sweater during the winter (I live in Michigan), but she was having none of that and tried to eat both it and me. So she's always walking around in the buff. Despicable.

  11. Hm, a little of both actually. I sort of outline by making notes, and then just let creativity take over and guide the story. Err, I used to be that way, but for the first time, I have written a synopsis first. We'll see how that goes soon enough.

    By the way, the pink shirt? Totally awesome.

  12. Oh my goodness they are just so cute! Awwwww!!!!


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