From Organic Pantser to Etherical Plotter


I am beginning my fourth WIP while wrapping up edits on my third.  I am the rookie writer with training wheels.  The process has been a journey fraught with highs and lows like a manic depressive on steroids.  My work is brilliant, my work is crap.  I’ve just decided that, writers, we’re all neurotic as hell.

The first book I wrote was totally organic.  Of course, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  I can write a book.  I speak English.  I can read.  Of course I can write a book.  Delusional child.

Okay, so I wrote a book.  I wrote and wrote and wrote.  This monster was an epic fantasy romance with a plot and characters so wierd it would never NEVER find a sympathetic market.  Think of the most outrageous wall banger you’ve ever read double it for ick factor and you aren’t even in the same neighborhood

Book two came along a little better.  I’m even considering letting the hero out from under my bed if he promises to be a dream weaver and let me turn his suspense contemporary into a paranormal.  I’ve shown him a few cool skills I can write for him and I think he’s down with it.

Okay, Okay, cut to the chase right?

I wrote that book two over the course of  eight months.  I re-wrote it with three different kinds of plots, four endings and six beginnings over the course of the next two years.  I’m getting ready for the next go round with the paranormal/suspense/romance plot.

Wouldn’t it have been easier if I had actually plotted the thing from the beginning?  Ya think!

Okay, book three.  I tried to plot.  I really wanted to plot.  By now I was extremely weary of writing myself into blind alley’s.   I used colored stickies and a way of plotting that Roxy StClaire suggested.  I felt like I was really getting a grasp on it.  Then my stickies fell off the poster and I wasn’t sure where they all went.  Ah me.

I used power point and sorta plotted after I wrote.  It gave me a chance to plan ahead a little bit, to the end of the head lights.  I could search out pictures to inspire me and put them on slides.   I found my hero’s their cars, their house.  Pretty cool.  I could research for hours.  But that’s not getting the book written.

I participated in our chapter’s “Write the D*&M Book Manuscript Challenge.”  I did finish the book.  I love the whole thing.  It needs tightened and edited.  I’ve been tightening and editing since….oh October.  Insanity.

I wrote the query and suckyoposis.  I guess I should say I am writing the query and synopsis.

I sat down this past week with my bestest buddy and CP.  She gently showed me the error of my organic ways.  The synopsis I wrote isn’t necessarily reflective of the book.  Oh, it is what I want the book to be.  However,  I have any number of threads that didn’t quite get pulled together at the end.  I had a very willful secondary character take over the last third of the book.  I have a collection of loverly scenes that do absolutely nothing to advance the plot, develop characterization or build the world.

WAAA I don’t want to cut them because they are soooo lover-ly.  Sorry, got to go.  I know. I know.

We got out a slew of colored stickies and started weaving, cutting, and listing scene need.  We moved things around.  Dug deeper.  A few scenes to write but mostly tweaking here and there and some cutting.  I am psyched.  I finally see the book I wanted to write.  I can do this.

I have stickies taped to 4 X 6 index cards and notes all through the manuscript.  Yet, this WIP is more real, my dream is more alive than ever before.  I think I can actually write a novel.

Book four?  Well I’ve made some notes.  I wrote plot points on index cards.  I think I’ll try to write the synopsis first to get the big picture figured out.  Then back to stickies and index cards.  Now if I can only get the characters to cooperate.  Book four will give Kiernan a chance to tell his story now that I’ve convinced him he can’t hi-jack book three.

Plotting for survival

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