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What Writing Technique Works the Best - Are You a Fiction Engineer or Archaeologist?

Updated on August 16, 2015
Whatever fiction writing technique you choose, it is first essential that you come to "know thyself."
Whatever fiction writing technique you choose, it is first essential that you come to "know thyself." | Source

To modify a quote from Thomas Edison, some writers work from inspiration, others from pure perspiration. Some will get up from behind the word processor and take a walk down the beach, where they wait patiently for an idea to blow in on the ocean air, while others slave away all night, hovering like homicide detectives over a maze of bulletin board diagrams full of sticky notes and lines of string connecting characters and plot lines. I don't think either technique is better or worse - I have read great novels by authors who employ both methods. Each writer must come to grips with what works best for them, to learn the meaning of the ancient Greek maxim "know thyself." Using my approach might cause you to write a pile of spontaneous crap that will likely spontaneously combust in your face, whereas if I use your process I am likely to give up the endeavor as pure, tedious, drudgery - to abandon a good idea before it ever lifts off from the launch pad of some boring outline.

The purpose of this article, therefore, is not to be so presumptuous as to tell you how to write. The purpose of this article is to urge you not to be afraid to create your stories in your own way, and to impart the liberating knowledge that you don't have to be a slave to writer's guidelines, manuals, and workshops. This is not just me, an unpublished, unqualified writer talking, I'm quoting this advice from the pros. If you have the gift of storytelling inside then only you will know how to get your stories out - whether you choose to be a writing engineer that draws an intricate blueprint and sticks to it religiously, a writing archaeologist that starts digging into your imagination without really knowing what you are going to uncover, or a healthy combination of both.

A rare glimpse into the inside of my writer's studio, with me patiently awaiting the arrival of my muse.  Superman pajama bottoms give me the psychological boost I need.  Coffee in the Grumpy cup is not optional.
A rare glimpse into the inside of my writer's studio, with me patiently awaiting the arrival of my muse. Superman pajama bottoms give me the psychological boost I need. Coffee in the Grumpy cup is not optional. | Source

Engineers

The writing world seems to be divided into two camps, which I will loosely label engineers and archaeologists. These sides are not mutually exclusive, however, and there are many authors who fall into the fuzzy area in between. The writers in each group are not snobbish and xenophobic either; gathering in inimically hostile opposing sets; the writing equivalent of the Crips and Bloods, but will befriend and sometimes socialize together, even if they do shake their heads skeptically at one another while comparing notes on their craft.

The Engineers are a fussy bunch that don't like to leave much to chance or improvisation. Before they turn the ignition on the Word Processor they already have the GPS programmed so there will be no deviations from the route. The reason they plan so intricately is because they are as afraid of plot holes as you are of potholes on a slippery highway. Fiction engineers are painfully aware that bouncing off a deadly plot hole can send a story careening off of the road, over a cliff, and into some dark, forgotten abyss beneath.

Joseph Finder, the bestselling author of High Crimes and other thrillers, has written an interesting article on the diversity of fiction writing in which he describes the techniques of both circles. Citing examples of fiction engineers, he states "Ask John Grisham, and he’ll tell you he can’t write a novel without doing an outline first. He does a 50-page outline with a paragraph or two about each chapter, setting out the major events and plot points. He spends more time on the outline than on the writing. Robert Ludlum once told me the same thing — his outlines were often as long as 100 or 150 pages!"

Perhaps the most well known example of the fiction engineer school is J.K. Rowling, the author of the overwhelmingly successful Harry Potter series. Ms. Rowling is the first billionaire fiction writer, so I think it's safe to say she knows how to write novels that people will read. I read all seven Harry Potter books, often kidnapping them from my children while they were sleeping. On the Now Novel blog, five writing tips from this immensely popular author are described, and one of these tips involves the painstaking planning process she went through to create this series.

"Instead of diving right into line 1, paragraph 1, J.K. Rowling advises taking the time to plan out the world your books will live in. She took five years to create and develop every last detail of the Harry Potter world, right down to how the Wizards and Muggles interacted (and the word Muggles, to begin with!) what the education was like, how magic helped in every day life and how the wizarding world of government worked. She also plotted out all the events of the seven books before she started writing the first." Elsewhere, the Harry Potter creator adds "The five years I spent on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were spent constructing The Rules. I had to lay down all my parameters. The most important thing to decide when you're creating a fantasy world is what the characters CAN’T do. . . ."

The King of the Fiction Archaeologists
The King of the Fiction Archaeologists | Source

Archaeologists

Unlike Engineer Rowling with her meticulous pre-writing preparation, Fiction Archaeologists don't like planning at all. They do it sometimes, but only inside of their heads, and then only grudgingly. They think too much planning mucks up the gears of a story and sterilizes the passion away. They're dying to know what's going to happen next in a story as much as their readers are, and they don't want any spoilers. The reason why their stories often have so many scary dark turns is because they are taking us places they've never been before either.

Describing the writing archaeologist Harlan Coben, bestselling author of The Stranger and other thrillers, Joseph Finder says "...he’ll tell you no way, he doesn’t outline, but he does know the ending before he starts. He says, “It’s like driving from New Jersey to California. I may go Route 60, I may go via the Straits of Magellan or stop over in Tokyo . . . but I’ll end up in California.”

A very crude mental map carved into the gray matter is all the fiction archaeologist needs to navigate. Perhaps the best known practitioner of fiction archaeology is legendary bestselling horror writer Stephen King, who invented the term. This incomparably imaginative novelist tells us that "Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground ... Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. Writers should be like archaeologists, excavating for as much of the story as they can find."

King continues: “When, during the course of an interview for The New Yorker, I told the interviewer (Mark Singer) that I believed stories are found things, like fossils in the ground, he said that he didn’t believe me. I replied that that was fine, as long as he believed that I believe it. And I do. Stories aren’t souvenir tee-shirts or Game Boys. Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible. Sometimes the fossil you uncover is small; a seashell. Sometimes it’s enormous, a Tyrannosaurus Rex with all the gigantic ribs and grinning teeth. Either way, short story or thousand page whopper of a novel, the techniques of excavation remain basically the same.”

The master of horror adds: "I also have to say that -- for me -- writing from an outline is no fun. I want to be surprised by what happens. I want my characters to develop in ways I didn't expect. I don't want to know how the story will end until it does. As Raymond Chandler believed, "the best way to stop the reader from guessing the end of a story was not to know how it ended yourself.""

Furthermore, he goes on to say that "I won't try to convince you that I've never plotted any more than I'd try to convince you that I've never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible. I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren't compatible...These were situations which occurred to me - while showering, while driving, while taking my daily walk - and which I eventually turned into books. In no case were they plotted, not even to the extent of a single note jotted on a single piece of scrap paper."

When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost impossible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and then lift them gently into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the way to write this book-to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves.

— John Steinbeck - Cannery Row
You the archaeologist writer are like the ruler blade in this picture.  Now open the bottle and let the story crawl in by itself.
You the archaeologist writer are like the ruler blade in this picture. Now open the bottle and let the story crawl in by itself. | Source

Conclusion - My Philosophy and Why it Doesn't Have to Be Yours

That beautiful quote from Steinbeck pretty much wraps up my own philosophy in a bottle full of seawater, and is what inspired me to write this. Like Stephen King, I try to be a writing archaeologist, although I do scribble down the random ideas that pop into my head; because if I don't my sun baked, geriatric mind is apt to forget them. I'm too attention deficit to sit around and plan for exhausting long periods, however. Like Harlan Coben, I know where I'm going when I start the trip but I don't know exactly how to get there. I have a map but it's one of those large print maps for the visually impaired that don't have very many details on it, and I don't like to look at it while I'm driving the writing car. Instead, when I'm writing I often look out the window and describe what I'm seeing there. Sometimes when I'm distracted this way I crash through the roadside barrier and cut a new path. This keeps things interesting, and it keeps them fun, which is important because I want to be entertained by the story I'm writing too, as much as my readers hopefully will be.

I'm not saying that writing shouldn't also be work - I'm just saying that it should be fun work. Otherwise, if I'm in it for the work alone I can get a minimum wage part time job that certainly pays me more that the 11 dollars the miserly Hub Pages sweat shop contributes to my bank account every month. For me and my limited attention span, outlining and journal writing and character sketches are too much like grunt work, and make my arthritic hands ache too.

This doesn't mean it's wrong to be a fiction engineer, and that you engineers don't tell some pretty damn good stories. It's possible you are highly organized and keenly focused individuals with unencumbered handwriting joints that like to keep one eye on the map when you're driving so you won't steer off onto an unknown road, like I do quite frequently. In that case, detailed outlining might be just your thing. You might get a kick out of spending years creating intricately elaborate worlds like those of J.K. Rowling or J.R.R Tolkien before you ever punch the words Chapter 1 into the proverbial typewriter.

"Know Thyself," is the key to writing success. Don't let others tell you that you have to act like an engineer when you flunked math and drafting because you were sleeping in the back of the classroom. On the other hand, don't let Stephen King or anyone else convince you that only fiction archaeology will work, even though you don't the ass end of a shovel and you like to use your toothbrush for brushing your teeth; not for delicately scraping away the loose dirt around the delicate dinosaur bones in your tale. Find your own process, or find that happy medium that keeps your writing lively while you are sitting at the keyboard, because no matter whether you are a Fiction Engineer or Archaeologist; if you don't enjoy what you are doing, chances are your readers won't either.

Identify Yourself!

What kind of fiction writer do you consider yourself to be?

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The King Speaks on Writing

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    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 21 months ago from Cooley, Texas

      Great Hub Mel!

      My friends and I call work 'worming' and this hub (especially King's portion) reminded me of that. Uncovering the self (and character's selves). Keep hubbin bub!

      -E.G.A.

    • Ameraka profile image

      Evelyn 21 months ago from Wisconsin

      Wow, I totally agree. I think you need to find your own way of writing--it's got to come naturally. And if you don't enjoy writing, your readers won't either.

      I am a fiction archaeologist--for the most part. I write down worlds and character notes but I don’t know if it’ll work till I start writing. Often if I don't throw out some of the notes or ignore them the writing will become constricted, artificial. I need freedom, spontaneity to create.

      Anyway, I usually get more useful notes while writing, things that are more authentic to the characters. I only need the barest details, which spring more ideas and spin into story.

      I read On Writing by Stephen King, and I'm so glad that he says you don't have to plot--it was freeing to me; I somehow thought I was doing it wrong. But if a famous author can do it... I like that quote of his that writing is like life—not plotted.

      It makes sense because I like to become the protagonist—be completely in their POV--and to do that, it's best that I don't know what’s going to happen next. Being the main character means I’m creating the world as he’s seeing it—just seeing a little bit ahead and having a general idea of where it’s going—all in the back of my mind while most of me is engaged in being the protagonist. It’s more authentic that way. To see what the main character sees---that’s what you want your readers to do, and the easiest way to for them to see it through your character's eyes is to see it that way yourself.

      As an INFP, I am a spontaneous person—I have some order but I like to have options open. Whenever I do outlining, it becomes inauthentic and stiff. I can’t write like that. I do some engineering—but it usually doesn’t turn out as well as if I start spontaneously. My two best novels so far—published on amazon—started that way, with a spark of an idea that turned into flame. So is my book on Hubpages, which, incidentally, is called Spark into Flame.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Eldon. I guess there are multiple definitions for this particular writing style. As long as it works, I guess it really doesn't matter what we call it. Thanks for reading.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Ameraka. I never finished a story which began as an outline, although I do write down notes and do some brief character sketches at times. Most of the time, however, the characters in my stories are real life people that I have kidnapped into my novel and changed their names, so I don't need to create their personalities. Thanks for reading.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh poop! Now I know how it is done. The mystery is gone and only the intense creative hard work is left. Not quite pulling back the curtain on Oz, more like getting to assist the plumber you hire. I must be somewhere in between. Kind of like engineering a brand new ancient city.

      Thanks for this it was quite interesting learning about these super successful writers.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      I think what Stephen King is saying Eric is that there are only so many stories in the collective human psyche, and it's the writer's job to dust them off and tell them in a unique way. Shakespeare stole all of his stories from history and legend, but the language he used to tell them was beyond compare. In that respect the story planning process is already done, it's just a matter of grabbing one and giving it your own unique spin. You have a very unique and colorful turn of phrase and I would like to read some fiction by you. Thanks for reading. Have a happy hot SoCal Sunday.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      What a great hub Mel, I love it. I am most definately a fition archaeologist. I like to surprise myself with where the story or poem is going and where it ends up. Sometimes that can be detrimental as with my "Tom Swiftly" series. It started out just as an example of the "Tom Swifty" puns and how they fitted into a story, and I didn't plan the ending when I started to writing and although I have published the first two parts as hubs I still can't come up with a satisfactory ending.

      I love the quotes by Raymond Chandler and John Steinbeck especially, and am happy to be in the same writing category as Stephen King and Harlen Coben. That being said you can't dispute the success of the likes of J K Rowling and John Grisham. I have favourites in both camps. i do think Stephen King is wrong in his view of what stories are. I don't think there is any story that hasn't been told before somewhere or sometime...different characters and places..but same storyline and yes they are like uncovering fossils. Voted up and sharing. (p.s. You make almost twice a much as I do from HP earnings each month. I am envious)

    • Ameraka profile image

      Evelyn 21 months ago from Wisconsin

      yes, most things have been done in one form or another--on the other hand, there's always a new spin you can put on it. Nothing is new under the sun, but there is infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

      I love surprises in real life (good ones anyway) and few things are more delicious than your story surprising you--giving you a plot twist etc you never thought before--in the midst of writing it.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      I am rather relieved I am not the only pauper here Jodah, especially when everybody brags about making 500 dollars. All my massive loot comes from about four or five postal hubs. Besides that, if you have read the anthropologist Joseph Campbell you might be familiar with the idea that all humans everywhere share the same themes in their mythology. This is the well we draw our story ideas from, I think. Thanks for reading!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      You are right Ameraka. Sometimes I gasp out loud when something shows up on the page I wasn't expecting.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 21 months ago from Oz

      Like yourself, I generally start with a distant goal and then burrow a meandering path to get there. Often forced to turn back and try a new direction, I inevitably find the goal becoming clearer with each effort. However, as the stories complexity mounts, so too my brain begins to feel the stretch, all those meandering tunnels begiining to look an impossible maze. That's when I put on my engineering hat, place road signs and draft a map. it has worked for me for three novels so far, and into the forth... Enjoyed reading your article. Thanks

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 21 months ago from SW England

      Love that Steinbeck quote! I'm an archaeologist. I used to plan more but now I tend to just let it flow, when it wants to! Sometimes it's only a trickle or a few drops but eventually the stream is bubbling.

      Great idea for a hub and well followed through. I like the idea that there are engineers and archaeologists of writing. You never know what you can construct or what you can dig up!

      A thoroughly enjoyable read.

      Ann

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you parrster. Yes I agree that sometimes you have to slap on the hard hat and break out the blueprints. Sometimes the wrecking ball too. I appreciate you dropping in.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Thanks Ann for dropping in. I guess all the Brits are not engineers like Rowling. Have you ever read Cannery Row by Steinbeck? It's one of my favorite books. So much beauty and ugliness on every page.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 21 months ago from SW England

      No I haven't read that; will give it a go, thanks.

      I think Rowling had a one off with Harry Potter; other books written by her, some under a different name, do not come up to the mark in my opinion!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The bottom line is a good one. We have to write the way we are comfortable writing. To emulate another writer is to do ourselves a disservice. Great suggestions here, my friend.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 21 months ago from Oklahoma

      Loved the hub.

      Personally, I do whatever it takes. Different times call for different methods. Sometimes the best motivation is to open a can of energy drink and push, push, push, but so often the best inspiration comes from stepping back and taking a breath.

    • kurtreifschneider profile image

      Kurt James Reifschneider 21 months ago from Loveland Colorado

      Great hub, I am actually close to finishing my first novel and what seems to work for me is just sit down and start to type and let it flow..no outline. I had the concept and the ending and nothing else...... I can not imagine for me it being any other way...

    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 21 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Validating hub for many I'm sure Mel ! Because we are all so different it only makes sense that our writing processes be widely different too. The need to daily give ourselves permission to be who we are in our own writer's skin could literally mean life or death for us as a writer. Thanks for the reminder Mel!

    • profile image

      Pat Mills 21 months ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      At this point, I am an inactive fiction writer. I had ideas, but I always thought of new ones. Unfortunately, I had fiction rejected in 33 states before I got the hint there was less interest in it than my non-fiction.

      This answer could change down the road.

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Zakinov 21 months ago from California

      I suppose I'm an archaeologist although I see the merit in both approaches. Engineering a story is like engineering an essay or an article or anything else you write. You need to know where you're going with all of this to communicate clearly.

      What's my main message? That's the question I often ask myself when I write, otherwise i tend to disperse. That's also the reason I edit my writing later - a number of times, the more time had passed, the better for editing: to clarify what my message is.

      Great read, I think you nailed the topic!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Bill. You are the writing guru, so I appreciate you taking a look at what I had to say.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Taking a breath is good Larry. Sometimes just getting up to refill the coffee cup or in your case, grab another Red Bull, brings in an idea. Thanks for reading.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      It's amazing what happens kurtreifschneider when you quit pussyfooting around the computer and actually start typing. More often than not stuff comes out. Thanks for reading!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      That's right Babbyii, we have to be happy inside our own skins. Thanks for reading!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Mills P I hear Stephen King was rejected for Carrie 30 something times and then his wife pulled the manuscript out of the garbage and the rest is history. Keep trying, my friend. Thanks for reading.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Very good point Svetlana. Even though it is only fiction, a story still has to adhere to a central idea, or it lacks cohesion. Thanks for reading!

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 21 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I write from inspiration. However, I have written some short stories (for children) and making an attempt at writing a novel , which I hope to publish some day. Just want to know- have you read any of James Patterson's books? He's also one of my favorite's.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      I never really got into the mystery or thriller genre Dana, although I will read anything good. My reading choices mainly focuses on classics and whatever obscure books my son gives me to read at lunch. Thanks for reading!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting hub, Mel. I love the title! I am definitely more of a fiction archeologist than an engineer. I love to be surprised by new thoughts and to explore new ideas when I'm writing stories and poems.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Everybody seems to be an archaeologist so far, Linda, or engineer/archaeologist combinations. So far no one has responded that they are an out and out engineer. Thanks for reading!

    • Gary Malmberg profile image

      Gary Malmberg 21 months ago from Concon, Chile

      What a fun learning experience you put together here, Mel! I love the info, top to bottom. So many ways to kill the cat. Two big thumbs yup.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Gary, I am delighted you enjoyed it. Funny you should mention cats, when I was just talking with my wife about the latest atrocities of my neighbor's cat. Now you've given me an idea. Thanks for reading!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 21 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I am a typical archaeologist. The first rule is that there are no rules. It flows from the moment I sit down to do it, and I rarely rewrite. I may ad more data later, like more bird pictures, and a note about a new event, but that is all.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      I'm like you Deb. I alternate between sitting at the typewriter and then getting up to take a walk. When I take a walk is when the good ideas roll in. Thanks for reading.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 21 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      This is great Hub!

      I am basically an archaeologist. Unearthing the story and its atmosphere is what drives my fiction writing. Of course, I do have to do some research and plotting at some point, but whenever I try to plot in detail, I tend to pick the story to death.

      I can't say how well this works, never having actually finished a novel (except in my head). But I do know that I am temperamentally unsuited to be an engineer.

      That said, I have great respect for the engineers. It seems like it's often they who end up having the most amazing, twisty plots!

      Regarding the term archaeology, it does remind me of a term used by Dostoevsky. In Anna Karenina, there is an artist who describes his process of painting as "taking off the wrappings." There are some bad parts to his painting where he took off the wrappings too hastily, destroyed what was underneath, and had to make something up to fill in the destroyed part. That's definitely how I feel about writing fiction.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      I think that is a lovely analogy Jennifer, taking off the wrappings. I really appreciate you dropping in and sharing that story.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Mel

      All of the above, and then some! At the moment I seem to be writing a lot of non-fiction and while I research I'm discovering that there are times when my conclusions aren't what I expected!

      Kind of like the Archaeologist digging through the details but not sure what the end result will be!

      Great stuff though

      Lawrence

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      Yes Lawrence I suppose non-fiction can branch off in unexpected directions as well. I enjoy the creative aspects of non fiction just as much as fiction. Thanks for reading!

    • bzirkone profile image

      bzirkone 20 months ago from Kansas

      Great hub and a good reminder that it's okay to just sit down and write. I have notes scattered from one end my life to the other. I decided the other day to gather up all those notes and get them organized, print all the one or two paragraph false starts and see if I can weave them together into something. And now for that part-time job to pay the bills... ugh.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

      Good luck on your endeavor bzirkone. Unfortunately I have one of those dreaded full time jobs to pay the bills, and sometimes I come home so exhausted that my dreams and ambitions are put to rest along with my weary body as I'm turning out the lights before 10 PM. It takes a lot of drive to work and to write. Thanks for reading!

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 20 months ago

      a creative workshop

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 20 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      I'm definitely the archaeologist type - couldn't bear to know what happens before I get to the end. Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking Hub, Mel.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you sujays for dropping in and reading.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

      When our own writing shocks and surprises us I think we are on the right track FatBoyThin. Thanks for reading!

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 20 months ago from North Carolina

      Mel,

      I LOVE THIS HUB! You are a very wise writer who has penned an exceptional article. I love your wit and the information you provide.

      I believe I am a little of both for I have drafted plenty of ideas and then have had mad dashes of just throwing myself in without worrying where I would end up. I love the reference to the large lettering and not writing while driving-smiles. I wonder sometimes if I took all the little scraps of paper that I have written an idea on and threw them in a hat something amazing would emerge. Of course, that would mean finding all those back of envelopes, sides of magazine pages, etc...

      Happily Shared and Pinned. Thank you for this most, delightful excavation. No Blueprints Required.

      Smiles,

      Kim

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you for reading Fat Boy Thin. Sorry about the delayed response. Writing should be as entertaining for the author as much as the reader.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Kim for dropping in with your great comment. If we were still in the days of paper scraps I would never write a thing, because I am a very disorganized person, and I hate to write longhand as well. Fortunately I now have a phone with a notepad, and it is filled with all of my wacky ideas, all stored in one convenient place where even I can't lose them. I appreciate you dropping in.

    • Rabadi profile image

      19 months ago from New York

      Great work once again!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Rabadi. I appreciate you dropping in.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 19 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      You are indeed a great writer. Yep this article is really a masterpiece of understanding. For myself I let the research guide me and then each day I run and jog every morning . While doing that, the details of the upcoming writing that day will fill my head.

      Now a devoted follower!!!!!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Reynold Jay I appreciate you dropping in with the nice compliment. Any activity that frees the mind is a fertile breeding ground for creativity. I appreciate you dropping in!

    • Felisa Daskeo profile image

      Felisa Daskeo 19 months ago from Manila, Philippines

      Thank you for the very inspiring read. I started writing as a short story writer because I am a fiction story lover then I wrote short novels in my own local language which is Filipino. And yes, I can say that I am both an engineer and an archaeologist when it comes to writing fiction. I could shift from being an engineer to being an archaeologist.

      Each writer has his own style that makes him comfortable when writing.

      This is indeed a rare find. I find you a great writer.

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      Nadine May 19 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      What a very interesting post on this topic Mel. The background settings of all my novels were written from my own experiences where I have been brought up, lived and are still living today. My characters are created from the Enneagram personality type information I have made a study of and the plot! I write mostly visionary fiction, which means a great deal of research into the spiritual,astronomy, archaeology and modern sciences.

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      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      Nadine May, I think all of us that write fiction incorporate a lot of personal experience and even real people into our tales, changing the names of course to protect the innocent, or guilty, depending. If we didn't, I don't think we could visualize the characters sufficiently to make them seem real. Of course, research is very important, but the difference between the engineer and archaeologist is that the engineer does all of the research first and the archaeologist digs up facts as they become necessary. Thanks for reading!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 19 months ago from USA

      Love your writing studio! I waver back and forth, though for now, I'm favoring the engineering approach. As long as I can skip the math component.

      Thanks, Mel!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you, kimbesa. It is good to hear from you. Wavering back and forth is fairly common. All of us have to incorporate a little basic engineering, or else the fictional house of cards would collapse. Thanks for reading!

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