Mark J. Rose

Writing Matt Miller in the Colonies – Blog Entry 5


JUNE 14, 2022 – BLOG ENTRY 5

They say that mastering a skill takes 7-10 years of learning and practice, and it turns out that writing is a skill like anything else. I attended lectures, read books, and, of course, wrote a lot. I learned that writing fiction has two extremes. They call one “writing by the seat of your pants,” which is more like what I described in the previous blog post. These are the writers who realize their stories as they write. They learn their plot as the words appear on their screen. These people usually have some concept of their story, try approximately to get there, and then let the keys fall as they may. Other people are “plotters,” who have a detailed outline of their story, from beginning, middle, and end. These people fill in the space around their outline with character details. They were listening to their high school English teacher on that day when they taught story planning.

I’ve wanted to be a plotter since I started writing the Matt Miller series. I’ll always be a scientist at heart, and my education, training, and position in the Pharmaceutical industry have taught me to plan and be orderly. But, as I alluded to when I described my experience with storyboarding, it never quite happened. I also realized that I wasn’t writing strictly by the seat of my pants either. After a while, the only metaphor I could think of was that Matt Miller’s adventure was starting to feel like an impressionist painting. I’d paint one corner, then move to another, and sometimes the middle, trusting that eventually there would be a hero named Matt Miller staring back at me. At one point, I moved far enough away to see the entire painting, and there he was. I hope that you can see him, too.

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