Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Plantstering

First off, I apologize for not posting yesterday. I planned to post, but I got busy working and... well... you know what they say about the best laid plans. I ended up spending all day yesterday working in my bookstore, and then all night writing. *shrug*

Speaking of writing, I noticed something about the way I write. You've heard of plotters (people who plot their books before they write them) and pantsers (people who write by the seat of their pants), but I'm neither. I'm a plantster.

You see, I start out with a general plot. I always have a general idea where I'm headed. I know about where the story is going to end up. I just don't always have a clue as to how to get there. So, I start writing by the seat of my pants. Along the way, I stop and plot the next few scenes and get writing again.

It's almost like participating in a treasure hunt. Did you ever do that when you were a kid? At the beginning you get one clue you have to figure out to get to the next clue, and so on, until you reach the prize at the end. Except instead, I'm giving myself the clues, or rather bits of a map that lead somewhere, but I won't know where until all the bits are put together.

Am I making any sense here?

Probably not the most efficient way to write a book, but it seems to work for me. I've tried doing the whole thing by the seat of my pants. That was pretty fun, but a little frustrating (as evidenced by the scads of notebooks covered in chicken scratch). I've tried straight plotting, and while it gave me a better idea of itinerary, the writing seemed a little flat. Frankly, for me, it was like pulling teeth to get from one scene to the next. Been there done that. Boring.

As a result, I offer you plantstering. Plotting, planning, and pantsing all in one. It slices, dices and makes Julienne fries... Wait... Maybe not quite the fries. But it does make my writing fun, and it seems to flow fairly well, with only minor stoppage. Gone are the days of sitting on the couch agonizing over which path to take. Gone are the countless hours of banging my head on the desk trying to make the words come out and fit the plan.

Listen. I'm the last person to tell someone else what the best way to write is. I couldn't do that simply because the best way changes from individual to individual. I'm merely offering you an alternative, especially if you haven't found your groove yet. I've been at this for almost four years now (which is still rather newbie by comparison to some of the writers I've met). Four years of sitting at home writing (because I don't work for other people any more), and I'm just now finding what works for me. Maybe this will work for you. Maybe it won't but it's always worth a shot.

So, tell me, how do you write? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Or do you do a combination?

1 comment:

Leatherdykeuk said...

This is exactly how I write, too. A general plot, a mention who who is in the scenes and off I go.