Thursday, November 23, 2006

RLH: Brainstorming and the Intuitive Writer

The word "plot," for anyone who hasn't noticed, is a four-letter word. That's more or less how I feel about it. Writers who are more analytical thrive as they work out the plot before writing their books. But I am an intuitive writer. I create from my gut. I write to discover what will happen next just as my readers read to discover what will happen next. I don't know what will occur in chapter ten until I have written chapter nine.

I keep what is called a "rolling plot" notebook. Basically, I journal before beginning to write for that day, determining, based on what I wrote yesterday, what needs to be accomplished next. Sometimes, of course, I write down what needs to happen in the future. I keep an 8.5" x 5.5" spiral notebook for each book, and some pages are flagged and highlighted as I go along, knowing I will have to backtrack to some of my comments.

While plotting causes me to break out in hives (kidding, it isn't that bad), I love to brainstorm. To me that is something different. I love getting the ideas flowing. Any idea. All ideas. Never saying, "No, that won't work," but saying, "Why would that work?" or "How could that work?" Once or twice a year, I get together with other Christian authors to brainstorm books. I get as much out of brainstorming their books as I do out of brainstorming my own. I get inspired and excited about writing.

Sad to say, I've had to brainstorm many projects on my own as I can't always fly off to meet with other writers. But now, thanks to a recommendation from fellow novelist James Scott Bell, I found a software program that works for me, the intuitive writer, as well as for those writers who are more analytical. I've tried other writing software programs through the years, and they've gone unused. They didn't "think" the way I do.

Enter Inspiration 8. I've used it now on two projects, and I highly recommend it as a way to get the juices flowing. Drop over to the Inspiration 8 web site at and check out their free trial version. You just might find you like it, too.


Robin Lee Hatcher is now brainstorming her next book and praying all that intuitive stuff pays off in the end. Look for her 50th release, A Carol for Christmas, in bookstores now. For more information, visit her web site at and her blog at


At 2:20 PM, Blogger James Scott Bell said...

That's right, Robin. A program for both NOPs and OPs, seat-of-the-pantsers and total outliners, and everyone in between. Unlike political parties, there is something here for everyone in equal measure.


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