The Writing War Machine


In this post, we look at why writing is like war and the role of the writer in that war. We examine the writing war machine.

Writing is war. And war is about getting your troops and equipment to the battlefield fit and ready to fight.

To that end, the writer needs not just creativity, but logic, organisation, and strategy in order to pull together all the elements of a successful writing campaign.

But, what are they, and how can you make sure you are going about it right?

To do that we look at the following:

What Is A Story?

They story is the idea you have. Most likely a partially formed idea.

You may have a cool scene as your seed idea. You may know how you want to begin or end the story.

But, unless you are very lucky you won’t have a clear idea of the middle of the story.

That’s okay. If we manage our resources and keep troop morale high, we’ll get through that hurdle in fighting form.

To do that we’ll need to first create our army.

The Writing War Machine

The Logistician

That’s where you come in. As a writer you should not see yourself as the general. That position is for one of your characters. You are instead the person who makes things happen. You are the logistician.

A. You Plot The First Steps

The inciting incident of your story is like an unseen attack from an enemy. It will come to you unbidden. Your job is to understand the next step.

You will need to assign personnel (create characters) and send them on missions (plot). All while making sure they are adequately equipped for the task at hand.

Read: What Is A Plot? – A Writer’s Resource

B. Create Supply-Lines

While your troops are in the field they need food, support, information, and weapons. It’s your job to think about your characters’ needs and how to manage them in order to bring them to where they need to be.

C. Manage Field Hospitals.

Of course things do not always go to plan.

You will need manage your losses as best you can and move on as efficiently as possible.

This means making sure your life is in order so that you can write what you want as well as you can. You will need to manage the disappointments and aggravations of the writing process, as well as dealing with publication.

To do this, you need to take care of your operation. If you don’t, it will collapse well before you make your final advance.

Don’t Rush To Attack.

Think of your book as three parts. The beginning, middle, and end.

The beginning  is the first quarter. The middle is the second and third quarters. The ending is the last quarter.

Many unwise tacticians rush through the middle to the detriment of their troops. Your story needs time to gather resources, build relationships, establish tactics, and muster all your forces.

If you don’t devote the time and energy to the build-up, your conclusion will suffer or fail outright.

Most of the memorable parts of a novel are in the middle. This is where we get to know the actors. It’s where fun happens and where relationships develop. It’s the best part of any story, but it’s the hardest to manage.

Read: How To Write The Middle Of Your Novel

So, I suggest having solid plans for it. I know I have given up on projects just because I can’t figure out how to connect A to C, because I did not plan out B.

Of course you can simply advance and hope for the best. But you will get lost amid the endless, unnecessary sub-plots. All of this wastes time and frustrates the writer.

Take some time in the middle so that you don’t have to retreat and start again.

If you do this properly, you will win the war and complete the book.

Marching Orders

Well, it’s come to this has it? Seeing writing as a war.

If that’s what it takes to secure the future of your beloved novel, is any cost really too dear?

Christopher :Luke Dean Written by Christopher Luke Dean (Please don’t commit any war crimes like writing in first person.)

Christopher Luke Dean writes and facilitates for Writers Write. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisLukeDean

More Posts From Christopher:

  1. Why Writing A Book Is Like Going To The Dentist
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  3. How To Write An Action Scene In 3 Steps
  4. How To Get An ‘A’ Analysing Poetry
  5. Why We Need To Get Back To Writing With Hope
  6. 10 Worthy Antagonists In Fiction & Tips For Writing Them
  7. Why You Shouldn’t Only Write What You Know
  8. Writers Talk 11 | The 8 Elements Of Setting
  9. A Quick-Start Guide To Writing Fantasy
  10. Writers Talk 10 | Creativity & Imagination

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