A blog about the craft of writing
I’ve always been a pantser. From the moment Mr. Brown in fifth grade introduced us to outlines, I knew I hated them. I even had to write my ten page research paper two weeks before it was due so I could fake the outline, turn it in, then pretend I’d written the paper from the outline. I desperately didn’t understand why anyone needed an outline.
In college I would get up the morning a paper was due and write it, then go turn it in. Well, only if it was a short one. Longer papers required writing the night before, but none of them got more than my brain turning them over and over. Maybe a few notes scrawled in my spiral notebook, but no outlines. Nada.
So when I really started to write I of course sat down in front of a blank screen and thought about my first scene. Then I typed. This worked well. For the first few scenes. Enthusiasm drove me along through chapter one, then chapter two, then chapter three. By chapter four I was sinking fast and when I hit the second quarter of the plot, I was stumped.
Without a road map I had no idea where my characters were going. Without character sketches, I had no idea why they were even on the journey. I had to change. Even if change meant kicking and screaming and acting like a two year old, I was going to learn how to plot.
Of course what I really did was read books. Lots of books. Books on how to fill out sheets with your characters names and descriptions and deep motivation. Wait, deep motivation. How could I possibly know how my characters were motivated without seeing how they acted? I couldn’t. So I struggled through completing my first book. And then came the editing.
And then more editing. And then the re-editing.
You see without a roadmap I had created some serious issues. I had discovered my characters so far into the plot that I had to go back to the beginning and re-write. A lot. And when I had done that, I found out that some of the plot didn’t work so well, so I had to re-write it. And when I had done that, I still needed to polish the whole shebang. And then I had someone say that they didn’t understand my hero’s motivation, so it still needs more editing. ARRGH!
It was then that I realized that I needed to plot. At least a little bit. And it was then that I discovered the Snowflake method. Randy Ingermanson (author of Writing Fiction for Dummies) has a free Advanced Fiction Writing e-zine that you can sign up for, but what got him started on the e-zine was his plotting method. So many people wanted it he was called to post it online. And now he has a program to help you do it yourself. It’s simple, it’s fast, and better yet, it works for anti-plotters like me.
Next Moonday Mania I’m going to share how I use the Snowflake method and how easy it is for even a committed pantser like me to make the switch to plotter.
Are you a pantser, plantser or plotter? How do you know? Have you tried to make the switch? Leave a comment and tell me your plotting story.
And don’t forget to record it on the Rafflecopter widget. Every day is a new opportunity to enter the contest and win prizes HERE in celebration of the release of Little Red Riding Wolf. More opportunities to comment when you visit the blogs on my blog tour. Tuesday visit with me at Her Story Calls and leave a comment there too!