Friday, February 3, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Departing Outlines


"For all my longer works, for example novels, I write chapter outlines so I can have the pleasure of departing from them later on."

~Garth Nix


This quote KILLS ME! I'm not even sure why I love it so much. Maybe because it gives us permission to be a plotter. Permission to be a pantser. But more importantly, permission to waver between the two as much as we want. Who says we have to label ourselves one or the other? (In fact, who says we even need "permission" for any of it?) I'm willing to bet that most people aren't at one end of the plotter-pantser continuum or the other; we are somewhere in the middle. We plot parts, we pants parts. And whatever way works for us is the way we should do it.

And because I love fortune cookies something fierce, and because they seem to fit with a fun quote, let's share a few! Oh, and fun side note: Shortly after he got his first book deal, Brandon Mull (of FABLEHAVEN fame) got a fortune cookie that read, "You will become a New York Times Bestselling Author." I keep thinking that if I eat enough fortune cookies, I will get that one someday, too. :o)

So have one with me! May your fortune be the best one EVER.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!


P.S. I'm opening mine RIGHT NOW. Hmmm... "Unveil your ideas. Be ready to act on them." No NYT Bestselling Author, but still a good one to get in the middle of drafting.

If you get a good one, be sure to tell us about it!

34 comments:

Lo said...

WHAT?! I WANT THAT FORTUNE COOKIE!!! That's it. I'm going to Panda Express today and loading up. What a fun post, Peggy! :) - Lo lojwriting.blogspot.com

Shell Flower said...

Yeah, I need to go get a fortune cookie (or several), too. And I LOVE Garth Nix, especially the Abhorsen trilogy. Great quote from an amazing author.

Joshua said...

I'm thinking I should make Fortune Cookies for Writers (Copyright Pending).

Ruth Josse said...

My husband once opened a fortune cookie and found it empty. I'm not sure what that means.

Amanda Olivieri said...

Looks like I'll have to pick up some lo mein this weekend so I can get a fortune cookie! Yumm. I love that quote, too, because I'm both a plotter and pantser. You're probably right that most of us are both :)

Jaime Morrow said...

I'm big on outlines and planning, but I do veer from them from time to time (but then write that into 'the plan'). I honestly don't think I could ever be a full-fledged pantser.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Hmmm...I think I need a glimpse in my future. Must be time for Chinese food :)

Delia said...

That is a fantastic quote. And I love Brandon Mull's fortune. My daughter's in the middle of devouring the Fablehaven series, so it seems to have worked for him. (Well, that and talent and hard work and perseverance...)

Jennifer Lee Young said...

Great quote! Thanks for sharing. Now I'm in the mood for Chinese :)

Angela Cothran said...

I heard Brandon tell that story once :) I always get stupid fortune cookies--but I eat them anyway!

Laura Josephsen said...

That is an excellent quote.

Mmm, fortune cookies...I think I may have one lying around here somewhere...

Nancy Thompson said...

I always considered myself a plotter, but I simply cannot plot this time around, so I'm pantsting right now and loving it!

Kelley said...

Oh good! That means my synopsis crap thingy that I write up before I start on page one counts somewhat as planning.

Though when I go back after I have finished the MS I find that I only followed my one page 'synopsis' through the first paragraph. Haha :)

Thanks for the fortune cookie!

Jillian said...

Great quote and commentary. It inspired me to track down more of what Garth Nix had to say about his process, and I thought these were pretty cool:
Writing Process

Nine Stages

And I want a fortune cookie now too!

Tara Tyler said...

an outline is a guideline
i had goals and a plan for my life, but you cant control or predict everything so we adapt. same for the novel.

have a super weekend!

Jenny S. Morris said...

I love the quote too. And I need to go find a fortune cookie.


Have a great weekend.

Iain said...

This quote made me smile too. It perfectly sums up the way I write. (and my fortune cookie said: Man who eats photo of father, is soon spitting-image of father.)

Krista M said...

I love fortune cookies! Granted, my fortunes are usually really lame... I just like the taste of the cookies! And it's fun to add "in bed" to the end of every fortune. ;)

Jade Hart said...

Awesome post as usual Peggy :)
I love fortune cookies. :) I want one that actually grants a wish! Genie in a cookie :) lol

JeffO said...

I haven't seen a fortune cookie with an actual fortune in it in years. I figured they got sued when the someone's fortune didn't come true and just put aphorisms in them instead.

Leigh Covington said...

Okay - this kid in high school used to bring tons of fortune cookies to school all the time. Man they were yummy! I love fortune cookies. Good fortune too!

And the quote was quite interesting. I liked it. Got me thinking :) Happy weekend.

Lan said...

That's a great lesson. I tend to do a meticulous outline and then can't seem to break away from it once I've started writing, even if it's not really where I should be heading anymore. It's good to know that the pros can give and take.

The Golden Eagle said...

LOL. I'm (trying) to write a plot outline at the moment--at least there's that to look forward to!

Fortune cookies have a strange way of being accurate. My mom once found one that said "It can't rain all the time" . . . in the midst of record regional flooding.

Carrie Butler said...

I tape all of my fortunes to my corkboard. I don't know why. I just do. Anyway, this was the one I received a year or so ago, when I had just started writing STRENGTH. :)

Imogen said...

I want a fortune cookie telling me I'm going to be an awesome writer! Maybe I can rig one or something...

Anyway, I've never actually done much planning, being too scared of outlines to deviate from them. Then I hate the story I outlined and bin it. But this time round, with my new project, I'm outlining and getting to know my characters and trying everything to make sure it works. Hard, yes. Worth it, I hope.

Beth Christopher said...

My all time favorite fortune hangs in my office and has just one word - Love.

Great quote, a keeper for sure!

S. L. Hennessy said...

I sooo agree. I LOVE outlines...but I love ignoring them more!!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Love the quote and the fortune! My sister once got one that said, "Better an egg today then a hen tomorrow!" What does that even mean?! :)

Deana said...

You speak the truth Peggy:) I guess we are all pansters really. I mean we can plot all we want but when we write we are still coming up with it out of the blue:)

I love fortune cookies too so thanks!
The last one I got said something
along the lines of, "The world will be ready for what you have to offer soon."

Kim said...

I once got a fortune cookie that said I would be surrounded by material wealth in my old age...too bad I have to wait til 'old age'. :D

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Great quote! Always so much fun reading your posts. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Lo-- Haha! I hope you get a fabulous one!

Shell-- He's pretty amazing. And definitely get one!

Joshua-- That's the best idea I've heard in AGES. Oh how I would love that! Are you going to put in the NYT Bestseller one? Cuz if you do, I'm sold!

Ruth-- Ooo... Empty. Hmm. I once wrote a story where a girl was affected by the fortunes she got. And an empty one! That's full of possibilities! Good and bad... :)

Amanda-- I hope you got your Lo Mein! (And that it came with a fabulous fortune.) I think there's some things each of us like to figure out before we write (plot), and some things we like to figure out as we go. Which things we figure out when is what makes us think we're one or the other.

Jaime-- Although there are elements I pants, I couldn't be a full-fledged pantser, either.

Tasha-- I hope it gives you a good glimpse. ;)

Delia-- Nah. It was all the cookie. ;) My kids devoured them, too! He's definitely figured out just what kids want, fortune or not.

Jennifer-- You're welcome. :) And I hope you were able to get some!

Angela-- A fortune cookie is definitely worth eating even if the fortune is stupid! Mmm. Now I'm hungry.

Laura-- Did you find one? I want to know what your fortune was!

Nancy-- Ooo! Interesting! I didn't know you could go from plotter to full-fledged pantser!

Kelley-- Hahahahaha! That first paragraph is the only one that REALLY matters anyway, right? (And yes, it totally counts.)

Jillian-- Wow! Those are pretty cool! Thanks for sharing them! He's a funny guy. I love how he spelled out his process like that.

Tara-- Oh. My. Goodness. So very well said! I love that!

Jenny-- Thanks! I hope you found one! And that you had a fabulous weekend, too. :)

Iain-- Bahahahahahaha! That was awesome. Best fortune cookie EVER. Even if it was one of those that could be counted more as "advice" than "fortune." Love it!

Joshua said...

I suppose I must.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Krista-- I love the taste of the cookies, too! My husband doesn't at all, so I always get his, too. :) And yeah. Nothing's worse than a lame fortune cookie. Unless you MAKE it better. ;)

Jade-- Aw, thanks, Jade! And Genie-in-a-Cookie. Brilliant! Someone should write a book about that!

Jeff-- Oh! That's so sad! Let me give you a little piece of advice. P.F. Changs. They actually still give fortunes! My hubby's work brought in PFChangs for them not long ago, and no one ate the fortune cookies (gasp!), so my hubby brought them home. I'm going to go get one for you RIGHT NOW. Hang on... Okay, opening. Pulling out the fortune. Chomping on the sweet goodness (sorry, I can't send you that part). And, the fortune!

Your finances will soon take a turn to significant improvements.

Nice one! Congrats!

Leigh-- Mmm. Me, too. And happy weekend to you, too!

Lan-- I know! I love hearing how other people do things, because it makes me seem more normal. :)

The Golden Eagle-- Hahaha! Yep. Deviating from the outline is something to look forward to, that's for sure. ;) And I love the fortune!

Carrie-- Awwww! I love that! And I love that you keep them! I got four amazing ones the week I got my book deal, and I didn't keep a single one. :'( I think I may have written them down somewhere, though.

Imogen-- It IS a lot more work! But totally the way to go for a lot of people. I guess you'll know at the end exactly how much you love it!

And I watched a clip once on how to make your own fortune cookies. Totally rig-able. ;)

Beth-- Aww! That's awesome! I LOVE it! :)

S.L.-- Hahahahaha!

Susanna-- Weird! Um... I'm going with If you are really hungry TODAY, you want the egg, even if it's smaller than the chicken. Because if you wait until it's a chicken.... well, you're going to be mighty hungry. Idk. It's the best I've got.

Deana-- Ooo! GREAT fortune! And yes, I think we all have parts we pants, no matter how much we like to outline!

Kim-- Haha! At least having it in old age is better than not having it at all. ;)

Alicia-- Awww! Thanks! I hope you had a great weekend, too!