Sunday, 11 March 2012

How to Write a Book Using the Splurge Method (Part 1)

Is this you? Then you need to
try the Splurge Method
I am writing my current novel using the famous Splurge Method of creativity. This is a particularly useful method for procrastinators, dilly-dallyers, and them what gets stuck easily.

Critics of the Splurge Method have suggested it is haphazard and time consuming and a bit like flower arranging in boxing gloves. 

Proponents of the method are addicted to the buzz of adrenalin to be gotten whilst living so precariously.

If you too would like to follow this method, here’s how in five easy steps.

1.  Think up an idea for your story
2.  Research (lovely research)
3.  Prepare; including characters, motivations, plot points, setting, style etc
4.  Plan your plot in fine detail
5.  Start writing, anything and everything which comes into your head.

It’s at point #5 where Splurging really comes into its own. Ideas beget ideas and characters (if given a free rein) will develop a life, opinions and behaviours of their own. They will tamper with your plot and send you off down all sorts of dark alleys and dead ends, as well as providing you with a few magic carpet rides to pure bliss.

BUT, if you go with the flow you’ll find yourself firing on all cylinders and sparking all over the place. It’s fun, you’re alive and your creativity will be buzzing.

At roughly twenty or thirty thousand words into the story, you will begin to realise that you are so far from your plan; you might never get back to it.


The temptation to stop writing, breathe, shower, tidy the house and organise your ideas is really strong here. Some people call this the middle of manuscript blues. All your metaphorical balls are up in the air at once and it’s damn scary. How are you ever going to catch them again?

But I want to say to you - DON’T STOP. Don’t give in to the temptation to be organised and on plan. Don’t listen to your doubts or your fears or that little voice at the back of your head saying, time to tidy up.  This is exactly the moment where you need to keep going. You need to write through the anxiety, write through the pain barrier, and keep splurging everything out. Who cares if it’s a mess and doesn’t make sense?

You’re going to rewrite it all anyway.

A satisfied proponent
of the Splurge Method
Eventually you will reach the end of your first draft. It may not be what you had planned, but it will be rich in ideas and loaded with character; plus, you will have something tangible to work with - a whole first draft!

This is the time to stop, take off the boxing gloves and try to bring order from your creative chaos. (See next blog - coming soon!) A great deal of what you have written will be cut and lots more will be added. With every rewrite, there will be more and better ideas, but gradually, over the course of time, these ideas will gain more and more focus and eventually you will have a ‘finished’ novel.

Writing is rewriting, we all know that. But if you are struggling to start somewhere, start with the Splurge Method.



  1. A great post, Wendy. I planned the last thing I wrote fairly meticulously and although I finished it very quickly and for a first draft, it felt quite polished, the process lacked a little magic. My new WIP is more intuitive and a bit splurgy and it's so much fun!

    1. Yes - you certainly get moments of magic this way. That's what I love most about writing. Hope your WIP is coming along nicely x

  2. 'You're going to rewrite it all anyway.'

    True; oh, so true! Really enjoyed the post, Wendy. Hope your WIP is splurging well.

    x x

    1. Thank you. WIP is still in fits and starts, fitting it in around life. But that's part of the beauty of splurging - you just keep on writing whenever, regardless!

  3. I'm a great splurger. Have been known to splurge even before the research stage! It's wonderful what words will do when you let them out to play. Even if you abandon most of them, you've had fun along the way.

    1. Here here. I knew there were other splurgers out there, but you see so much about planning and organised approaches to writing I did wonder if I was in a minority. Glad to meet you Jo!

  4. Brilliant, Wendy, and thank you! I'm just starting on point 5 so am now preparing to splurge away! Need to clear my desk first though if I'm to look like that woman in the photo. And perhaps buy a dress. And I have the wrong curtains.

  5. LOL! Yes, dress and curtains are VERY important. :)))

  6. I love the idea of a splurge. I spend too much time worrying and fretting about nonsense and not writing a word. You have given me the kick up the backside I need. Here I go - it's going to get messy.

    1. Ooh how exciting for you. Let me know how you get on. :)))

  7. Great advice, Wendy. I'm a newspaper journalist and have always used the splurge method when writing my articles (often to extremely tight deadlines). Have you read the late great Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing? He was a great proponent of splurging.
    Please check out my blog, which is a celebration of children's writers and has a particular focus on the nuts and bolts of writing. Perhaps you might be interested in doing an interview sometime?
    By the way, I'm Kendal born and bred and used to work on the Westmorland Gazette, although I live and work in Cheshire now.
    All the best.

    1. Hi Jeremy,
      Thanks for your comments. I've never read Zen in the Art of Writing but will certainly take a look.
      I like your blog - very interesting and would be happy to do an interview. Do you want to contact me through my website?
      Strangely, I am researching work experience in a local newspaper for WIP (in which co-incidence/luck is a theme). It would be good to talk!
      And Kendal... ah, lovely Kendal. Do you miss it?
      Hope to hear from you soon.


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