Writing Excuses 8.35 — Strategies for Discovery Writing

writing-excuses-mastheadIn this episode, Jeph Jacques and the Writing Excuses gang look at the potential perils, pitfalls, and epiphanies of discovery writing!

Discovery writing is an exciting way to develop a story, a creative process without any framework, where you simply let the words and ideas flow from your pen. Authors such as James Thurber and Stephen King have used it, with great success.
However, if you’ve ever tried discovery writing yourself, you may have run into one possible downside to this technique: writing yourself (and your characters) into a corner that only a deus ex machina or an extensive rewrite can fix.
Author Jeph Jacques has painted himself into a lot of different corners over the course of his career. As the creator of the online comic, Questionable Content, he uses discovery writing all the time to develop ongoing storylines. As a result, he’s also come up with a lot of effective techniques for rescuing himself from said corners.

Jeph Jacques

Jeph Jacques, creator of the webcomic ‘Questionable Content.’ [Click-through to homepage]

In this episode of Writing Excuses, he joins co-hosts Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Tayler on a panel at GenCon to talk about some of these techniques (as well as a very cool online app, called Oblique Strategies, that he uses to extricate himself from creative dead ends). He also describes the techniques he uses for developing story ideas, and offers advice on how to prevent creative roadblocks from arising in the first place. If you’ve ever tried discovery writing, or you intend to, then this is must-listen podcasting!
Download the episode here.

[Running time: 17 minutes]
[Warning: Discovery writing can lead to feelings of intense euphoria followed by unexpected moments of anger and hair-pulling. Always have one of those squishy stress balls nearby and never attempt this technique while off your meds!]

image sources:

Writing Excuses Podcast masthead background: country road in winter, by Bert Kaufmann | Source | CC

Jeph Jacques at San Diego KaVention, taken by Rachel Malkuch | Source | Public Domain

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