Writers tend to be divided between two camps: “Plotters” and “Pantsers.” Plotters create rigorous outlines and character data sheets before squaring off against the blank page, and Pantsers, well, fly by the seat of their pants. A friend of mine uses the term “Plantser” for a hybrid of the two, and that’s how I usually work. I like to start with a general idea of what the story is going to be about and let the details come as I write.
In November, I was discouraged by a string of rejections and hadn’t written anything new in a month, when I stumbled across With Painted Words. They select a new image each month and invite writers to create a story or poem inspired by it, however loosely.
I let the picture bounce around in my head for a week, but nothing came to mind, so I sat myself down, set a timer for an hour, and just wrote. While I didn’t create a fully-formed story, I had a solid start. My writing group provided critiques and encouragement, so I polished it up, sent it out, and Event Horizon was selected for publication.
While I still prefer to have an idea before I start writing, it’s nice to know that sometimes stepping out into the unknown pays off.