Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Re: Road Trip Wednesday #82: Plotter or Pantser?

Up until about three weeks ago, I would have sworn up and down that the only way to write is by the seat of your pants. Outlines? Storyboards? Anything resembling a preset plot at all? Hello, straight jacket. How nice of you to drop by.

One night I was working on character bios for the characters for a concept that I've been fooling around with for years in my head. I'd been calling it Chronicles of the Holly Knight. Basically its about a girl whose family is taken from her and she has to learn to use powers she does not want in order to save them. Well, during the character bio for Sarena the sheet I had found with some really awesome questions asks me to tell about his best and worst holiday.

She told me her best Christmas was the one where she first met Kesyl. Wait what? They weren't suppose to meet at Christmas! This would change everything, I tell you. Everything!

Kesyl echoed her, though. He told me that it was that Christmas where he found out who / what he really was. I sat there, staring at what had popped up on my computer screen. My finger circled the delete key. No way. I was not going to reshape my whole story for these guys.

Then I opened a fresh wordpad file. Okay, smart asses. Talk. They didn't shut up for three six hour writing sessions. Now that the outline for Moon Dance is done, they still don't shut up. They didn't tell me every nitty gritty detail point for point. They gave me a compass to get from "In the beginning..." to :"The End". They've filled in the details along the way.

I'm now 34,000 words into my rough draft of their story. This is the longest thing I've written in probably ten years. It is also the most concentrated burst of writing I have ever experienced. I'm not allowed to glance back -- that's a big rule in the Underworld, I guess. (Be it the realm of Hades in ancient Greece or the purple skied shadowlands that the Death God, Lucian, rules here...) If something happens off the beaten path I am to just mark my map (outline). I can always fix it later -- that's what editing is for.

At this point I am just telling their story because they are so determined that it be told. Okay, I'm really curious to see what they will do next, too. Hopefully I will be able to craft this into something worthy of sharing with others. Either way, though, its been one hell of a ride. Without the map, though? I'm sure I would have missed a turn somewhere.


  1. Hey, if it works then that's the way for you. And I'm your first follower! How cool is that? I only started blogging in March, and I'm now slightly addicted. Not sure that's great for my writing, though!

  2. I love that feeling when you're on an amazing productive streak and the words just fly out of you. Congrats on your progress!

  3. Wow! Great job having such a burst - isn't it great when writing goes so well?

  4. I love letting my characters guide me. I wish mine were as helpful as yours though! Mine will sometimes happily avoid telling me something completely essential that changes EVERYTHING until I have written many, many thousands of words. They're sneaky like that.


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