I had a sudden spark of inspiration a couple of weeks ago, and so, instead of getting stuck in to some deep planning on my next screenplay (working title of "A Sideline In Vengeance"), I've found myself bashing away at "How Mr Snuffles III and Others Met Their Maker" - a dark comedy set in the Celebrityville universe.
Initially I was thinking of it as a short story, but - being that I'm now 5,000 words deep with plenty of ground left to cover - it's looking likely that it'll extend into 'novelette' territory. What's a novelette? A story that's between 7,500 and 17,500 words (at which point a 'novella' takes over, up to the 'novel' crossover line of 40,000 words)...
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The spark of inspiration struck and a slew of ideas came at me with force, but this time around I've dived in earlier than I normally do (I tend to like to plan things out extensively). I'm working from a vague overall outline and finding the full story 'on the page'. Some pieces - like chunks of prose - came fully formed in the initial planning stage and have been inserted almost word-for-word into the actual piece, while other ideas have grown significantly from a mere sentence or couple of words to subplots spanning the entire story - as it happens, on the page.
On the one hand it means I'm free to follow a new idea immediately and write it into the story (I've been dipping back and forth in the text as I've been writing), but on the other hand I'm simultaneously researching and figuring things out as I go. It's like being completely free, except you're in a room with the lights off. It's taking longer than usual to rack up the number of words, but I'm not running the risk of burning out the ideas before they hit the page.
It's a different way to write, one that goes against my fondness for strict pre-planning. I'd certainly not write a full screenplay or novel like this (frankly, it just wouldn't be a good idea), but for a short story or - in this instance - what's become a novelette, it's proving to be quite a lot of fun.
No method of writing is flawless. Different methods trade off their strengths and weaknesses with each other - but it's fun to tackle this particular writing project in a different way.
More info on "How Mr Snuffles III and Others Met Their Maker" as-and-when.