Improvisation – Writing Off The Cuff


Quick wit is a good thing to have. The ability to think on your feet can come in very handy, impress people, and can get you out of some sticky situations. What I’m focusing on, though, is improv as it pertains to writing.

When I’m thinking of a new story, I try to plot it out in my head as much as I possibly can. Which, oddly enough, is usually not very much at all. I have a starting point, and a couple of ideas for the middle, and an ending. The majority of it is wide open, and I just start writing. I don’t know if this is the recommended method, or how most writers do it, but it seems to be working for me. Some really great ideas have sprung to me as I was typing them. Ideas I had never even considered just come to me out of nowhere. During the editing and revision process some of the ideas turn out to be utter crap, but a lot of them end up being pretty good.

I’m curious about other writer’s methods when writing something new – do you plot out everything in your head, or just get an idea and write off the cuff? Do you write an outline? I’ve tried that, and it came in handy in one or two instances, but I’m still not sure that’s the method for me. Do you have nothing more than a title or an opening line, and go from there?

Published by Kenneth Jobe

Kenneth Jobe is a writer, photographer, musician, and Native Californian living in the Midwest with his wife and son. His fiction has been published in Jitter, The Rusty Nail, Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror, and the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep, Volume 2.

2 thoughts on “Improvisation – Writing Off The Cuff

  1. I write notes until I start to feel comfortable with the story. Once I have a beginning and at least a sense of the direction it wants to take then I begin. Sometimes I know the ending, sometimes it comes to me partway through, other times I don’t know it til I’m there. I’ve also tried the detailed outline route, but I’ve found it kills the joy for me. It’s nice to know where you’re going, but allow for some surprises along the way.

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