Writing Wednesday: Pantser to Plotter

I never dreamed I’d be a plotter. The very idea of an outline made my head hurt and erased the desire to write a single word. Now… now I am a plotter. At least for Half-Life of a Soul. Like most writers, that’s not my only project. The others have a vague sort of “I know these four things will happen” to guide me. This project though…

What was I thinking taking on a five book series? (Feel free to laugh at me, I sure am!)

I’ve thought about it and I realize, there are so many pieces to this story. I already knew the rough outline when I started it. I knew what would be happening, in what order. And, I had a hard time starting on it because of medical issues, so I spent months working it out before I ever typed the first word. I became attached to the story line I came up with because it’s the strongest one possible. That means I don’t want to let it go off the rails and take strange turns on me.

Thus, I plot.

Will I pants the rest of my writing? I don’t know. I think I can do well with either method. I pantsed the hell out of the Salvation Triad. I would wake up, open the last file to start writing and suddenly say, “Oh, I know exactly what to do here!” Then the beta team suffered while I cackled in glee.

There’s a touch of pantsing, even in plotting, as I’ve discovered. The outline says the story will happen in the order of events a, b, and c. It doesn’t go into enough detail between those to tell me who says or feels what. It also doesn’t forbid me from altering the order of events.

That was a big lesson to learn about plotting. Just because there’s an outline, doesn’t mean I can’t change it.

I think we get turned off to using outlines while we’re in school. We’re taught how to make one, and then we’re supposed to turn it into a paper. Those outlines are almost carved in stone, in my experience. Change something compared to the original outline and it doesn’t matter how much better the paper is, you’ll lose points.

It has been fun to find out that I enjoy outlining, moving chunks around, and even creating a schedule based on the way I’ve broken down the outline.

I’d ask someone to send help, but I don’t think I need any. The outline says the next step in this story is….

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