Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who'd have thought?

I've always been more of a panster than a plotter. I start with a basic story idea, give the story two characters, a basic history and conflict and write. I let the story unfold from there. Even though that has basically always worked for me I have run into troubles from time to time. I've written myself into corners or realized that something doesn't fit and had to go back to change it. I've decided to try and shake things up a bit by being a bit more conventional. I have a story that I really need to finish. While my fingers danced on the keyboard yesterday waiting for my characters to tell me what they wanted to do next I realized I spend a lot of time doing that. Waiting. Starting a line and then hitting backspace.

Unfortunately, that isn't getting my story written any faster.

So I decided to try and plot out my whole book this time. I got out my trusty notebook and pen and started writing. Ideas popped into my head I hadn't thought about and I wrote them down. I organized things in the order they should happen and before I know it I had most of my story on paper. You know what? I think it's really going to help. Don't ask me why I did see it before but I think it will be much easier for me writing off an outline rather than searching my brain while I write. Don't get me wrong, I always know a few key scenes that will be in my book but I usually file them away in my head while I write and now I have them on paper, where I can see them, in some logical kind of order. Who'd have thought that would be so helpful. LOL. Sitting back now, yeah, I should have known this a while ago. Makes perfect sense but I'd always just seen myself and a pantser kind of author. Now that I'm getting busier, with deadlines I'm realizing that some times you have to step out of what you've always done. Some times you have to look for a different way to do things and in the end, it just might be a better way. I definitely think my time at the keyboard will be more productive and being a mother of two children not yet old enough for school, I need that.

Are you a plotter or a panster? Have you always been that way?


Regina Carlysle said...

I think you've been reading my mind, Kell. I've always been a pantser, pretty much doing as you do and have a BASIC idea. Lately I've found that sometimes that works for me and then there are other times I just stall out. I've been thinking lately about writing a synopsis or loose outline and maybe it'll speed things up.

Anny Cook said...

I'm a mix. Half n half so to speak. Start with a really general outline, fill in as I go.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Great minds, Reg!

Kelley Nyrae said...

Straight up the middle, Anny. That's a good way to go.

BrennaLyons said...

I've always been a pantser... Complete pantser...far to the left of the see saw...no chance of a recount. I have a character-driven process, so it works best that way for me. Even when I've tried to plot, I can't, because the characters keep dragging me other directions.


Genella deGrey said...

I do both. I've been known to plot an entire book, and then turn around and pants another.

Sometimes I get to a point in my pantsing and polt to the end, sometimes I get through a plot and pants more situations to the end.

I wish I could nail down a way that works, but they all seem to work in one way or another.


Anne Rainey said...

I used to be a pantser (most of the time), partly because epubs don't generally offer a contract unless they've gotten the entire story in their hands. So, there was no need to do the synopsis ahead of time. Then my Kensington editor said she wanted a synopsis of one of my full lengths and I about choked because I didn't have a synopsis as I haven't written the story yet! So, I realized I needed to change things around and start doing the synopses ahead of time. I'm finding I like it a LOT better, too! I write faster and I'm definitely more productive.

Kelley Nyrae said...

LOL, Brenna. I've had my characters drag me around too.

Genella, as long as they get you where you need to be stick with whatever works on whatever project!

Anne, I think that will help me too. Things already feel like they'll go easier for me.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

I'm a pantser in her fifth attempt at recovery. :D Like you, I have some stories that have to be done fast, and I can't afford to give my muse full reign and trust her to be punctual. She's going to need help this time. ;)

BrennaLyons said...

Actually, I've had e-pubs contract me for books that aren't written, both in established series and stand-alones. I've had ONE publisher ask me to do an outline of what I intended to do in the book (stand-alone). I sent her two paragraphs that amounted to a very rough long blurb and a title. She signed it.

Eventually, anyone who works with me long enough resigns themselves to the idea that, if I have a title and a couple of characters, the book WILL get written.

Will Kensington go for that? Who knows? I seriously doubt I'd change my style much, because that's the way I write.

Now, I could do one of a few tricks I used in high school and college. Grinning... I can bang out large portions of the book and write the synop/outline backward from that. That's how I've written every research paper I've done in my life. Make my note cards (because it's research), write three drafts of the paper, then write the outline from the first draft. If the teacher has major changes suggested (they don't), I am prepared to write the paper a fourth time.