This just about sums up where I’ve been with my writing recently. For the past few weeks, I hadn’t been all that productive, and it was driving me insane! But I couldn’t quit. I CAN’T quit! Because writers don’t know how to do that. Because it’ll literally make me nutty if I’m not able to get it down on paper. The blessing and curse of being a writer, I suppose.
If you read my guest post at John Guillen’s blog earlier in the month, you’ll know that I’m a big advocate (for myself, anyways), of combining pantsing (writing by the seat of your pants), and using the standard plotting techniques.
If you need some ideas for how to plot, I suggest you check out the post. It has some great ideas!
Anywho… back to my conundrums…
Despite my advocating a combination of pansting and plotting, I didn’t realize that I was relying solely on pantsing for the last couple of weeks. And this really doesn’t work for me.
The series I’m writing is complicated (to manage, not read), and it requires a lot of foreshadowing, planning, and meticulous attention to details, as there are so many details, they can get a bit out of hand if I don’t keep them wrangled with firm grasp.
So why did I ever think I could manage all that by pantsing? There’s just no way to keep all the details straight in my head, but, silly me, I must have thought I have the brain of – well – I don’t know what kind of brain could keep all those details straight without plotting some of them.
Yesterday I finally bit the bullet and organized the second book into a VERY informal outline.
As in, I wrote a short paragraph for each chapter detailing the necessary components that must be included in order to move the story along and also to foreshadow at the right moments. But the particulars of each chapter is left to my pantsing ability, which I’m thrilled to say got a solid workout after my informal plotting session.
At this point, it looks like there’ll be 35 chapters (the same as my first book, but that’s just a coincidence), and I’m shooting for 120,000 words. Which will probably be edited down to 100,000 or close.
I had about 8,000 words yesterday before plotting. Today I already have 11,000, and they’re coming fast and furious now that I have a solid direction again.
And in between all my pantsing and plotting, I’m making time for brainstorming sessions, as the third book in the series is still a little foggy. I know what needs to happen in the end, but the plot to that point is still lurking in the vat of creative stew that’s twirling around in my brain.
I hope you all are having equal success in your writing and creative endeavors! I’d love to hear what you’re working on!
“For all my longer works (i.e. the novels) I write chapter outlines so I can have the pleasure of departing from them later on.”
― Garth Nix
“In the world of your story, your outline is like the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, your characters are all Atheists.”
― Jefferson Smith