Filtering by Tag: pantser

Plotter Panic

I’m a plotter.

A hardcore, need-to-know-every-detail, plotter.

As evidenced by the 27,000-word outline I wrote for my current work-in-progress.

Yep. 27,000 words.

So, imagine my borderline panic when I started writing the book and the opening scene was not as outlined. Borderline panic turned to full-on Omigod, what am I doing? when, scene by scene, chapter after chapter, everything was coming out new.

“Why did I spend so long outlining?” I asked myself. “Why didn’t I just start writing the damn book?”

At some point, about twenty thousand words in, I reached a point where I was like, “Okay. All right. I can do this.”

Which, given my obsessive plotting tendencies, is a big deal.

I fought the urge to stop writing, go back, re-outline, and I just kept going. Something inside me shifted, and I just relaxed into the writing. Clearly, these characters were going to tell this story the way that they saw fit. Who was I to interfere?

And you know what? So far, so good. I’ve got about three or four chapters left to write, and a new ending in mind. We shall see how it holds up…

The lesson here? Relax. At least, for me. I was so uptight about my outline, so stressed when it wasn’t working, when the story kept changing. The moment I let it go (Let it go! Let it go! Ahem…sorry.) was the moment I learned to trust my writerly instincts.

Does this mean I’m going to be a Pantser from now on? Hell no! Going into a story with absolutely no clue what’s going to happen freaks me out, even if what I plan on happening changes. But I have learned to roll with the punches. That’s a valuable lesson for someone like me.

What about you? Are you a Plotter? Pantser? Somewhere in between?