How to Use The Flashlight Method to Write Your KidLit Novel

Most people have heard about plotters and pantsers, but let’s be honest here: most people are both.

Many plotting techniques are geared toward planners, people that like to outline extensively, or the highly organized writer who has an answer for every question that might arise within their draft. Otherwise, they are timing techniques for the pantsers who just want to sit down and explore their new worlds.

Enter the flashlight method, meant to help you discover a little bit and create what you need to along the way.

Using the flashlight method is easy:

  1. outline a small portion of your story, a single scene or two is enough.
  2. write until you run past your outline and/or can’t think of what comes next.
  3. outline again, just a small amount.
  4. write again until you get stuck.

Repeat this process until your draft is complete.

The flashlight method lets you illuminate nearby narrative arcs, which allows you to discover your draft gradually.

I find this method helps for creating a quick draft without feeling overwhelming or contributing to burn out. It is also good or writers who do not have the privilege of writing everyday, as it moves the goal post only slightly for each writing session.

Originally posted on October 5, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

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Published by J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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