More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Who needs a plot?

If any of you have been following my work at Textnovel, then you've probably figured out that I revise, obsessively and often. True, I spend (waste) lots of time wishing I was one of those writers who can see her way clear to "the end" from the very beginning, but I've put enough stories behind me now to acknowledge that it's not going to happen, because I'm just not wired that way.

Not that I haven't tried to plot. I have. But no matter how exhaustive my advanced planning, my beginning product and my end product have little to do with one another.

True, some stories come easier than others. Take my two textnovels, for instance. Muse Struck is a lighthearted, paranormal romantic romp. It's also a gift from my muse. The story has written itself from day one.

But my other romance at textnovel, Surrender the Night, is dark and angsty. It also began as a vampire novel. Yeah, I know. How did I get from vampires to hellhounds turned Navy SEALs?

Umm...truth is, I have no idea! For me, stories, well, they just happen! That makes me what is known in author-land as a "pantser." I create plots by the seat of my pants, literally. That was fine until I actually sold something, only to bring these pesky little things called deadlines into the mayhem I call my life.

Only trial by fire has allowed me to keep the spontaneity in my writing that I love while disciplining myself enough to get to the end within a reasonable time period. When I put some of these tips to tweet these methods out on twitter, I got a few requests to post them.

So, for those of you who asked, here goes! I hope you find them useful!

Ten Coping Strategies for Pansters (as put out over Twitter, emoticons, shorthand and all!)

Pantser Survival tip #1: If you know it, write the ending first & let characters drive you toward it.

Pantser Plotting tip #2: Write the scene burning bright in your mind. Print, put in a binder @ look often @ progression. Is a plot being born?

Panster plotting tip #3 What's the worst thing that could happen to your character right now? Make it happen. w/ gusto. :)

Pantser plotting tip #4: Happy characters don't dance for the muse. Throw every form of misery at them & make 'em sweat. On page 1. :)

Pantser plotting tip #5: Stuck? Double break, pick an obstacle: organic, inorganic, elemental, suprnatural or internal. Proceed w/ story.

Pantser plotting tip #6 (Thanks to author friend, Tracy Madison)Start w/ your hook, 2 plot turning points, ending. Split the story's action b/t 20 2K chapters for an 80K book. So, up to 20K sets up beginning, 20K marks first turning point, 40K turning second point, 60K final turning point/complication and on to resolution near 80K

Pantser plotting tip #7: No plot? No problemo! Just ask, what does your character want right now? Time to throw up a roadblock.

Panters Plotting tip #8: Let go and let Muse. It will all shake out in the revision. (Love this method, but involves mucho rewriting. Not good for looming deadlines!)

Pantser plotting tip #9: Read your latest work before going to sleep. Ask your subconsious work on it as you sleep. Strangely effective.

Pantser plotting tip #10. Open a new email. Summarize your story like you'r emailing a friend about great movie you saw. At the point of your story's block, write, "and then ___" (Fill in blank.)___ You can play w/ multiple scanarios here if you like.

And finally, the one Pantser plotting tip I rely on most often: Prayer. :) If this fails, move on to another story for a week. Then come back. New pespective can work miracles on even the most stubborn story.


The Sanibel Divas © 2007 Template feito por Templates para Você