How (My) Writing is Like Sausage Making by Rebecca Heflin

Untitled design (1)Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. – Otto von Bismarck

Well, Chancellor von Bismarck, the same can be said of my writing. I’m smack-dab in the middle of my latest WIP, and it’s looking a whole lot like a bunch of ground up meat and spices ready to be stuffed into sausage casings.

I’ve got a bunch of scenes (in no particular order), no chapter breaks, and a bunch of notes with ideas for additional scenes. I’ve also got some very polished scenes, alongside notes for future research, some half-baked dialogue, and even a few scenes that will likely be throwaways. It ain’t pretty.

Every one of my WIPs has gone through this stage, and I never fail to wonder if it will ever come together and actually look like a sausage, er, a book.

First, I should point out that I am an, ahem, organic writer.  I start with a premise and then figure out where the story goes as I write it. It’s part of the fun. And the torture.

Sometimes I wish I was one of those writers who plotted everything out to the nth degree. The ones who outline every plot point, turning point, and black moment. But alas, I am not. Which is rather strange, since everything else in my life is organized down to the last detail.

But maybe that’s why my WIPs are so messy. My life is so structured that it’s the one place I get to doodle, daydream, dabble in my metaphorical finger paints, and otherwise let my imagination run wild. Even if it is a little messy. Like making sausage.

How do you write? Are you the linear, engineering type? Or do you lean toward the sausage-maker like me?




About Rebecca Heflin

I've dreamed of writing romantic fiction since I was fifteen and my older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to me and told me to read it. Now I write women's fiction and contemporary romance under the name Rebecca Heflin. In case you're wondering, Rebecca Heflin is an abbreviated version of my great-great grandmother's name: Sarah Anne Rebecca Heflin Apple Smith. Whew! And you wondered why I shortened it. When not passionately pursuing my dream, I am busy with my day-job at a large state university or running the non-profit cancer organization my husband and I founded. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, Savvy Authors, and Florida Writers Association. My mountain-climbing husband and I live at sea level in sunny Florida.
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6 Responses to How (My) Writing is Like Sausage Making by Rebecca Heflin

  1. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca!! Yesterday, I saw a picture of an author’s plotting board using a large tag board and sticky notes. I just stared at it in shock that there are these wonderful writers who have the ability to plan and organize a WIP in such a way. 😳 Mine are a jumbled mess in my mind. Which would be okay if I could transfer the jumbled mess to paper and then go back and edit it. But nope, the stubborn profectionist in me needs to have the stuff on paper make sense. So, I agonize between just getting it on paper and trying not to continuously edit it while doing so. 😩 As you can see, I have a very productive and advance method. 🤣

  2. Beth Carter says:

    I feel SO MUCH BETTER after reading this. Most people think I’m very organized (ha!) and I’ve often served in leadership roles at work or in non-profit organizations. BUT when I write, it’s chaos, just like you mentioned. I am a pantser, write scenes completely out of order (which means I repeat many of them only to be deleted later). I also put my chapter breaks in last. Right now, I’m trying to figure out where I want to begin. Sometimes I wish I were a plotter, too, but I think that would take the fun out of it for me. Now, I know how to describe my sausage-making novel endeavors to my engineering husband. Thank you!

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