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Warrior Wench

by Marie Andreas

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I love being a pantser


Ok, I know there is the great pantser verses plotter debate in writing-dom, with many folks coming down heavily on their chosen stylistic side. But sometimes, ya just have to marvel at how the human mind works.

I’m a pantser. From time to time I dilly dally with becoming more plotter like, at least outlining of some sort (this most often happens when I’ve been editing and cleaning up some "pantser-oops" mess).

But then things happen that could only happen to someone flying at least partially by the seat of their pants. A major epiphany half-way through my novella. I won’t spell it out here (just in case the thing makes it into print ;)). But suffice it to say it was HUGE.

I’ve never written a novella and never done a romance. So doing a romantic novella (even a geek one) is a major challenge for me. I think the challenge of the form and genre were stifling my writing and I wasn’t sure where to go (ok, I was- I had the ending- just had no middle).

All of a sudden a new character popped up. Literally, I typed the dialog as she showed up in my head, it took me a second to get her name.

After a few paragraphs of thinking she was one thing, an entirely different idea popped in. One that fit very well and was even more realistic because when I first wrote the interaction between the new character and my main character, I had NO idea who the new character really was. It was a perfect "what would really mess up my main character" moment.

It was a game changer and triggered a few more twists that really liven things up.Now, I’m not saying that plotting is bad, but sometimes a spontaneous twist in your story can make all the difference.

14 comments:

  1. This is why I love being a pantser too. Things just spring up (or have to be created to save you from writing yourself into a corner). :)

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  2. LOL! So true Pippa! That is sort of our creative down side- the whole, "crap- how did I get in THIS corner?!" moment. I say it just makes us more creative ;).

    Thanks for coming by and commenting!

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  3. I've tried to be a plotter too, but when I force my characters to follow a plot they cross their arms and sit down and refuse to play. When I give them freedom to do whatever they want they usually come up with better plots than I ever could. So while the editing part sucks, my characters are brilliant :)

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  4. Ya know Rebecca, I think your characters have been talking to mine! I can sometimes get a little plotting in, but then they often ignore it anyway.

    Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    Marie Andreas (stuck at work- can't log in ;))

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  5. It's definitely a thrill when the story takes off in a direction you never dreamed of and it ends up being SO much better than what you had planned!!! :)

    Adrenaline rush! LOL Your fingers fly over the keyboard to discover what will happen next... Love it!

    Great blog Marie! Now I want to go home and write...LOL

    Lisa :)

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    1. Thanks Lisa :)- and yet we were both trapped at work! But we can dream of writing during the day.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  6. Oh, you're right, pantsing is great. Up to a point. But me, I need to have an ending and a beginning. And for a novel, a few ideas about what happens next. And let's face it, writers, pantsers have to do a bit of rewriting. Goes with the territory, no?

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    1. VERY true Greta- pantsers do ALOT of re-writing (or at least this one does ;)).

      I usually come up with my ending a few chapters in, then I need that whole "middle" section...sagging or not!

      Thanks coming by Greta!

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  7. I'm a pantser too, but I usually have at least a vague idea where the story is going. I simply can't write (or follow) a formal outline. It totally stifles my creative energy. I also tend to write in layers, adding more detail and twists in later versions. That also results in some rewrites, but that's okay. The first draft is always the hardest for me. Revisions always seem to come easier.

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    1. I like that Laurie, writing in layers. I think I do that as well, but never really thought about it. When I was an art student, I painted in layers-get the bones down, then just keep adding nuances until it felt "finished".

      Maybe that's what we're doing?

      Thanks for coming by!

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  8. People have a middle when they begin a story? What a novel idea. That must mean I'm a pantser, too. I start with characters and I know what my ending will be, but how I'm going to get there is a mystery. Since we all have to rewrite, (I don't think anyone can write one draft and have it perfect) a story is always open to adding new "layers" as Laurie put it. I think the only "outline" type aids I use are maps and visually working out a fight scene on a piece of paper. That way I can keep my east and wests, left and rights straight.


    Sharon Rivest

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    1. LOL_ Sharon, so fussy about getting directions right! Ok, I'll admit that sometimes I've ummmm, turned things around. AKA buildings moved. I might think about some of these "maps" you mention...hmmm- what a concept! (yeah, I'm not real bright sometimes ;)).

      Thanks for coming by!

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  9. Yeah to writing short and being a pantser! Can't wait to read the romantic novella!

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  10. LOL! I knew you'd like the short bit Georgie! Thanks for coming by!

    Marie- trapped at work

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