Flying or Planning Your Way To The End?

I’m a pantser, not a plotter, meaning I tend to write by the seat of my pants. I don’t bother with outlines, note cards or a compass. Planning? What’s that? I forge ahead nearly clueless about what’s going to happen next. I figure if I’m taken by surprise, so will my reader. How’s that going for me? So-so. It’s like searching for buried treasure…with half a map.

Sometimes, it’s the bomb to be a pantser. I can’t wait to discover what comes next. Other times, I ask whaaaaaaat? That won’t work. Back to the drawing board.

With Book Two, I made a few adjustments in order to maintain my sanity, which I prize quite highly these days. I completed my second manuscript writing the same way, blind-folded, head first, plunging ahead. But after crossing the finish line, I went back and outlined each chapter. It was tedious and about as fun as polishing silver, but I felt a certain sense of direction. Which made me feel a little more sure-footed. I still forged ahead, but retraced my steps with iron boots to travel back and forth on the path more easily. Plus, it helped me conquer the yips, brought on by asking does this even work? Can I even write? Where am I? Who am I?

With Book One, I was happy with the ending. With Book Two, not so much. It felt wrong, which made me go back and travel in a different direction.

Maybe I’ve become a plantster. Whenever I reach a scene that doesn’t sit well, I review the chapter outline and either move scenes around, scrap them, and/or write something entirely different. That seems to work. Plus, if you’re a fiction writer, when the time comes to write the dreaded synopsis (condensing the 80,000 words in the manuscript into 500-750 words), what an advantage to refer to the chapter outline. It sure beats thumbing through 300 pages to figure things out.

Actually, I think I’m a flipper. I’ll flip between the two just to keep me on my toes and keep things interesting. How about you?

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I can’t wait for your number 2 book to come out.