Writer’s Can’t Quit

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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!

Happy writing!

 

“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

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29 thoughts on “Writer’s Can’t Quit

  1. This is a great post, but I can quit. I think I have. it’s been like three weeks since I last wrote. What is that? Anyway, at least one of us is having a good day writing.

  2. What a great breakthrough! I blogged today about my writing schedule and my outlining process as well. My outlines for novels consists of writing a few sentences of what happens in each chapter, but my mind is taking off on it’s own. I managed to have two more chapters in my head, so I’m off count a little. This book is called ” Hot Like Fire” about a girl who works at a strip club as the assistant and ends up on the pole. I don’t know how many words it will be, but i will be writing until the story is finished. For my screenplay Jordan, I wrote 12 pages of it, then did paradigm (outlined it in a 3 act structure) and wrote the logline for it. I feel very accomplished today as far as my writing goes. My word count for my book so far is 14,528 words. Keep up the good work!

  3. When I started my first novel (still very much a work in progress) for NaNoWriMo last year I thought writing an outline would be silly. I was planning on pantsing the whole thing, basically. But then I took the time to write an outline about a week in and was amazed at the difference it made. Last week I completely rewrote the outline after putzing around the second draft for a month and as a list-lover it is a dream writing with an outline. I even make check-lists within my outline (introduce this person, describe this place) – the more specific the better for me! I love outlines! Now if only someone else could write the actual book…

    • Hahaha! You’ll do a fabulous job writing the book, I’m sure.

      The weird thing is, when I was in college and grad school, I lived by my outlines and notecards, but when I write my books, it’s easier for me to pants my way along. But I really can’t do that with this series. My current outline is pretty informal, but I can see it taking a similar path as yours after the first draft is complete.

      Now, for the other book I’m working on, which is a Christian RomCom, I’m pantsing my way through the whole thing. And it’s awesome! But, it’s not part of a series, so it’s a lot easier to pants.

      Good luck with your outlines, check-lists, writing, etc.! Sounds like you’re doing great!

  4. Love the Garth Nix quote. I often write by the seat of my pants, but in one of my books I had interwoven stories, and I really need to plot so I could keep it straight in my head. It can get complicated somehow and my brain can’t compute.

    • Yes, that’s exactly what happens with me in this series. There are too many interconnecting and overlapping plot lines. Especially in this second book, where I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew with the POV and how the heck I’m going to write it, my brain can’t compute, either, unless I have an idea where I’m going.

      I just HAD to make the second book more difficult for myself, didn’t I?? 🙂 Good luck with your book!

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