Monday, March 19, 2012

March Author Series #13: Don't Push by BC Sirrom

Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing? Meticulous outlining Jedis beware! See how B.C. Sirrom and others (ahem, like me) have taken to the Dark Side of inspired writing. Read on and see why!

Don't Push

I don't outline.

I don't have a method or a formula.

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At any given time I have three or four stories running in my head. (Doctors probably have a name for that.) I started writing my stories down while I waited for my husband to get out of a night class. I scribbled and doodled in small sketchbooks. I graduated to the computer once I had finished my first story, Solstice Night. I store the drafts in my Google Docs, so I can work from any computer with an internet connection. If I think of something, I can easily type it up. I have a full-time job (not in the literary industry), so I write what I can, when I can. If I am not feeling connected to the story, I move to another one or quit writing. My stories originate with the characters. Sometimes they emerge fully formed. Other times they are born from a single line of dialog. I set a scene in my mind. Then another scene. The chore I have in writing is connecting the scenes that occurred organically with a well-structured narrative.

Stories should be enjoyable to both read and write. That's why I began this venture in the first place. My approach may not work for the 'real' writer, the one with the agent and deadlines. Publishers, even small presses will accept submissions of just the first few chapters. If they accept it, then you have a real timeline to worry about. However, I circumvent deadlines by waiting to submit until I have a complete manuscript. Then I can write at my own pace. So far I have averaged two manuscripts a year which is typical, but I don't feel the added burden of meeting a set completion date.

Don't be afraid to set a story aside. I had a strong beginning to a story. The characters met, sparks flew and then....fizzle. Everything that came after felt forced. So I shut down and did something else. A few weeks later, I made a decision about the story. I changed the genre (from romance to paranormal romance) and the point-of-view (from third person to first person). The writing felt more comfortable. As a personal discovery, I've determined that if it feels awkward to write, it will be unbearable to read.

Originally from rural West Virginia, Sirrom currently lives in Tennessee with her husband. She studied architecture and landscape architecture, earning degrees in both. She loves creativity in all its forms: art, music, literature, etc. B.C. has always enjoyed storytelling, but until recently never put one of her stories to paper. Writing began as a way to relax during graduate school. No one knew she was writing until her first novel, Solstice Night was under contract. She writes stories that she would enjoy reading, such as fantasy, sci-fi, mystery and paranormal romance. Now working full-time, B.C. still finds time to write every day…well, almost.

Visit B.C. at her website:


  1. Great interview!

    I can surely relate. I currently have a story that is missing a middle. The characters gave me a beginning and an end, now all I need is what happens in between.

    I feel little by little, as I go about my day, the rest is coming. It's so good to see that someone else gets that.

    All the best to you, B.C.

    Thanks for another great one, Mysti

  2. Terrific advice!

    I've had to set more than a few stories aside and let them ferment in the juices of the muse until they were ready to be completed. :) It's great that you are flexible in your approach. I think waiting until your manuscript is finished before submitting is a great way to avoid tension. Still, there's those revisions that come with the deadline. Ugh.

    I'm all for easing the burden and this approach sounds great to me.

    Laurel W.


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