Greetings, dear reader. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones.
I feel as if I’ve been away too long. I know I’m supposed to write in this bloggy thing a couple times a week, but I’ve been spending most of my free time working on the third story in my Riddle in Stone series. The first book, Riddle in Stone, will be available February 26th, by the way (PLUG! PLUG! PLUG!)
At any rate, I’ve hit upon a bit of a snag with my current manuscript and it pertains to something I thought we’d discuss.
Let me begin by asking you this: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
When I first started writing seriously, somebody asked me that question and I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. So let me explain.
A “plotter” is somebody who plots out the main storylines before they write the manuscript. For example, they might have an outline of each chapter. Or they may have notes on the “back story” of the primary characters.
A “pantser” is somebody who just writes without any clear thought as to what’s going to happen. They might have a rough idea where things might end up or what might happen at certain points of the story, but a pantser never forces the story in that direction. Things just happen.
I’m a pantser.
I don’t like plotting because I think it ruins the story for me. I get bored and I stop writing. After all, I know what’s going to happen at every turn. Why should I want to keep working on it?
But as a pantser, I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen. Everything is, more or less, a complete surprise to me and that motivates me to keep hammering away at the manuscript. After all, if I want to see what happens next, hopefully the people shelling out $2.99 for Riddle in Stone will as well.
What I really love about being a pantser is that a character may pop up and steal the show!! For example, there’s a character in my series called Pond Scum (you’ll have to read the book to see why he’s called that) who literally popped his head in front of my main character, Edmund, and started talking. I had no clue who he was or what he wanted. He just showed up! Now he’s Edmund’s side kick. If the series sells well enough, I love to write a new series specifically for him.
The same was true for Edmund. When I started writing Riddle in Stone (available February 26th PLUG! PLUG! PLUG!), I had no idea what I was writing about. I had this character, Edmund, and he just started walking down this road. To where? I had no idea. I had no story, no bad guys, and no clue what would happen. I just wrote and the tale unfolded in front of me.
This, of course, is the source of my current problem.
You see, I’m 204 pages into my third manuscript and I’m reaching the climax too early.
(NO TYPICAL MALE JOKES, PLEASE! It happens to all of us from time to time! HONEST!!!! It’s all the stress at work! STRESS I TELL YOU!!!!)
I want to hit the climax of the main storyline around page 300 and I’m nowhere near that. I’m afraid my manuscript is going to peter out well before it should. Further, I can’t just “add” chapters or scenes without undoing the story that has naturally developed. Adding chapters for the sake of length just ruins everything. I hate that! The story becomes contrived and artificial.
Unfortunately, this is the problem with being a pantser.
As George Harrison said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Sometimes the road you start down is too short to make a full-length, 100,000 word novel.
So I will keep working with Edmund and Pond Scum and their mutual love interest, Abby, and their manic puppy, Becky. Hopefully something will happen that will extend the story in a logical and pleasing way. But if not…perhaps Riddle in Stone (available February 26th) will be a two book series!
So, what are all of you? Are you plotters or pantsers? And what issues do you have with being whatever you are?
Until next time…thanks for stopping by!