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

Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Plantstering Goes Awry

Okay, so I'm almost a quarter of the way through Nano. It's shaping up nicely, but I'm running into a problem with the way I usually write a book.

As you may know, I'm a plantster - which means I plot a little but mostly write by the seat of my pants. I generally know where I'm going, but the route to the end isn't set in stone. For me, this way gives my imagination loads of leeway, and sometimes my subconscious throws things at me I never would've thought of consciously. The one time I plotted a whole novel out before I wrote it, the story went as flat as glass of Coke that's been left sitting out for a few days. The fizz was gone. (I love the fizz. I live for the fizz.)

Anyway, with Nano, the more things my subconscious throws at me, the more lost I get. The plot is moving along nicely... and then I remember the subplot.... and then I remember the romance is supposed to be developing... and back to the main plot again. Arrgghh. I remember that I forgot to write in something that will lead to something else and my train of thought derails.

Considering how intricate this story is, it's a wonder I'm making any headway.

The other night I almost broke down and wrote the outline for this book. Based on my past, though, I'm afraid that would be a total mistake on my part. This book is better than what I imagine it will become if I have everything mapped out in advance.

So, I guess I'm stuck this time around. I'll write the whole thing, and then when I sit down to do my edits, I'll take the information and backtrack my way through an outline. Right now, it's the only way. (But I dread the hours it'll take me at the back end.)

Trying to keep a bright side to this, the writing is moving along at a good clip, so if I can write this by the end of June (mid-July at the latest), I'll have the rest of the summer to fix whatever glitches arise.

I know I've asked this before, but some of you may not have been visitors back then: Do you plot or pants or plantster? Could you ever skip over to another style of writing if the need arose, or are you like me and set in your ways?



Debs said...

I do sympathize with what you're going through.

I generally write by the seat of my pants too but have now started to do a bried outline, which reminds me of the general direction that I originally intended going with my story. If the characters take over and lead me somewhere else that's better than I was originally going, then I follow them.

I also have to redraft quite thoroughly too.

JenWriter said...

Well, editing can take care of anything you miss along the way.

Right now, I feel like my subconscious mind is writing this book. I know how it ends, just because that's the epiphany I had in dream-state. But along the way, things keep popping up out of nowhere, and I'm like, "Oh wow. That makes it even BETTER!" It's kinda fun. :)