I’ve been writing novels for about twenty years now, and although I have lots of first draft stories, I don’t have one product that is marketable! Not one! In twenty years. (Well, okay – there is one – one that I submitted to Harlequin that received an awesome, personal rejection with a request to see other works – I never followed up.)
For all of these years, I have told myself I am a pantser. I don’t plan, I just dream up characters and tell their story, writing by the seat of my pants — thus, I’m a pantser. I have a vague idea of what the dark moment will be and, since most of what I write is romance, I know that there will be a Happily Ever After. Way back in the early stages of my novel writing, I tried plotting a scene-by-scene outline of exactly what was going to happen. The outline turned out to be about eighty pages long and by the time I finished it, I had no desire to write the book because I already knew what was going to happen – validation that I am a pantser!
Except – what if I’m not? Or don’t want to be?
Can a pantser become a plotter?
I’m about to find out!
My last story is about 180 pages of ‘stuff happens.’ A lot of STUFF HAPPENS! I got really sick back in February and haven’t returned to writing since – so I printed a hard copy of the work-in-progress and the first thing I noticed was that TOO MUCH stuff happened! In fact, I think I told a trilogy in 40,000 words – seriously, in my attempt to figure out what happened next, I included three valid plots: There is a former boyfriend who stole everything from the heroine, including her design label; there is the discovery of the 100 year old diary that reveals a crime that means the current day heroine and her family don’t legitimately own their land; there is a feud between the families of the hero and heroine that dates back 100 years; and there is a horse theft ring.
Did I mention that I ‘planned’ to write this as a novella?
Okay, stop laughing! No, seriously – stop! Even this old lady can learn from her mistakes – maybe. That’s why I’m downloading Scrivener, even as I type (yep, multi-tasking! I’m also drinking coffee! Talent just oozes from my pores! Yep, that’s talent, NOT fear-induced-sweat!)
In case you don’t know – Scrivener is a program for writers! I’ve been hearing good things about it for years. It has me excited (and anxious in a not good way – anxiety lump of fear lodged in my gut)! So, yes – I’m glad I am making myself try something new, even though the thought of learning a new program is scaring the spit out of me. I’m 60 damn years old – guess I’ll soon learn if this old dog can learn new tricks!
There is a temptation to turn this into a blog post of a few thousand words – because as long as I’m writing this blog, I have a legitimate REASON (not excuse) for not opening the Scrivener tutorial and getting down to business.
So, like the smart person I try to be – I’m going to end this now and get to work! Wish me luck. Lots and lots and lots of LUCK! And patience. This old brain of mine is already aching just thinking about what is coming! So, taking two Tylenol and I’ll let you know next month how this experiment went!
Have you written today!
Terri Richison (writing as Terri Rich) lives in Clear Lake City, TX with her husband and a giant Great Dane (giant even by Great Dane standards). She is working on self-publishing women’s fiction and avoiding getting a pie in the face if she doesn’t produce pages for every critique session! PIES OR PAGES! Terri started telling stories almost as soon as she could talk – she learned everything she needed to know about storytelling at her grandmother’s knee. Craft however, is something she is still learning – those damn commas give me nightmares!