Friday, July 25, 2008

Plotting Vs Pantsing Part I

Plotting and Pantsing.
As soon as I discovered these two styles of writing, I knew what I was.
A fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. (pantser)
No plotting ahead, no charts. And now I'm discovering- no external goals. (yes, I know my punctuation is off but have no clue the right way to do it, lol)
So today I want to talk about Pantsing. Not that there's much to say. You pretty much sit down and write. For example, in my current wip it started because of a first line. Actually, the protagonist was already in a previous manuscript as a friend, but when I tried to think up her story the first thing that popped into my head was the first line.

"If there was one thing Rachel McCormick hated more than breaking into a client's house, it was getting caught."

And then I wrote.
Another manuscript started when I saw that Love Inspired had created a historical line. Immediately I saw a young woman on a train, heading to an uncle's house, when a dark stranger sits down beside her.
Pantsing is great because it's so flexible. I may have a future scene in my head, a vague idea about the character's pasts, and perhaps a rough idea of the last scene of the story, but that's about it. I'm not tied down to any specific storyline or characterization. Stuff morphs as I write.
But there's a dark side to being a pantser. REVISIONS.
Due to my lack of planning, there are several problems by the end of the manuscript that need to be resolved. Inconsistent characterization, plot holes, and lack of motivation. Or, as I mentioned above, no external goals. So I have to go back and do a lot of fixing.
If you check Tina Gray's blog earlier this month, you'll see she's a plotter. I'll talk about that in part 2.

The funny thing is that I wish I were a plotter. As fun as sitting down to write is, there's so many problems when I'm done. But the thought of plotting everything out gives me a brain hemorrhage. I'm happiest snapping out words and having no clue where I'm going until a character says or does something to get my fingers moving.

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