Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Fricassee

Dare I say it? It FEELS like spring today!

First, a huge thank-you to everyone who commented on Wednesday's post.  Amazing how differently we all approach things, isn't it?  I have to chuckle when the hardcore plotters insist the answer lies in carefully outlined plans.  For a plotter, that's definitely true!  And I assure you I have TRIED to make myself do that.

I'm more convinced than ever that pantsing and plotting are genetic.  Unchangeable.

Sure, you can teach a plotter to loosen up a little bit in order to let some organic growth happen.  And you can teach a pantser that getting some main concepts in order is a good way to avoiding painting yourself into a corner.  But I believe the essence of each will remain pretty much the same.

It's funny, because I'm actually a fairly administrative person (oh, you noticed?).  As a matter of fact, I once worked as an administrative secretary.  Dotted those i's and whatnot.  But when it comes to stories?  My brain works differently.

Of course, I LOVE charts and formulas and beat sheets.  Actually using them, however, remains an uphill battle.

All that to preface this:  Yesterday I had my big plot breakthrough!  Largely scribbled in a ridiculously illegible hand in my yellow notebook.  The scribbling continued this morning during my coffee time.  And hopefully, the writing will follow in full force later today.


How did it finally happen, you ask?  Um.  I don't know!  I had seriously just drawn a very sad face on the notebook page, with fat tears trailing from scrunched eyes.  And the words "I'm this close to giving up."

Yeah.  I'm a little dramatic when I write notes.

Then I turned the page, and it broke.  For me, it was a God moment.

And of course, my designated time at the coffee house was nearly over by the time I felt like I was ready to take my newfound direction and put words to it.  No worries, thought I.  I'll just get some writing in later in the evening.

Hello, my name is Authoress and I am Not-A-Night-Owl.  I dozed off in my chair.

So, yay!  New day, new words.  I am certain your advice and encouragement played a part in my breakthrough.

I haven't felt EXCITED about this WIP in several weeks.  Stuckage will do that to you, yanno?  So now I'm ready for the writer's retreat in Paris that keeps popping up on my Facebook page.  (Seriously. If they're not going to fund it for me, don't splash it in my face!)

Signing off happy this week.  Hope you are, too!  See you all Monday during the submission frenzy!


  1. Congrats on the breakthrough! I'm in a must-find-her-voice phase on a new/old wip.

    Writing retreat in my favorite city in the world?! That is so unfair.

    (the captcha word was Claud - too freakin' funny!)

  2. "Pantser" that word brought to mind those high school kids that go around yanking the pants off of poor unsuspecting people (not that I would know this first hand *cringe please don't realize I would*) Once I really thought about it I realized that you meant a "fly by the seat of your pants"er which is what I am....I TRY like holy heck to plot...but halfway through all the careful planning & outlining I get so bored I just write like the dickens! LOL

    Congrats on the epiphany! Those are the moments us "pantsers" live for...when WHAMMO it just comes to us and we can start writing & getting everything fleshed out. Keep up the good work!!

  3. I totally know what you mean about pantser versus plotter being genetic. As an engineer, I'm generally very organized. Excel and powerpoint are my two best friends. However, when it comes to writing I CANNOT outline to save my life.

    I had a professor ask us to submit outlines of our research paper and I nearly broke down in tears (that's not too abnormal. Tears are normal in grad school). One of my classmates made a two page very detailed outline. Mine was half a page and very generic. Even doing that almost killed me.

  4. Writing is creative and we all have our own route to get there. Painting and other artwork is the same. In the end it's about the result. I never do well working inside the lines...writing is no different!

  5. So happy for you that you broke through! Nothing better than figuring something out to un-stick the glue that seems to set in. Next time, I'll try dramatic drawings and see what happens ;)

  6. I'm somewhere in between a panster and a plotter. I have to have an idea of where I'm going, what the main points are, but then I let the characters take over. In fact, if they don't highjack my story, I don't know them well enough yet. That's when the magic happens. But there is no way I could simply sit down and begin writing without a storyboard.

  7. Best-selling author wrote a series of articles for NINC about the care and feeding of "The Girls in the Basement"-her term for that source we pantsers use. She said they get bored or cranky or tired or silly sometimes. They need respect, stimulation, food and rest. As writers, we have to put our butts in the chair, hope they show up, listen to them (and sometimes NOT listen to them, like when they're just trying to screw with us or distract us for their own childish reason) and write it down.

    Pantsers are less linear than plotters, but as someone said, the only thing that matters is the result, not the method. To use an art metaphor, plotters would take a block of marble and carve out the David. Pantsers take the same block of marble and have to chip away everything that doesn't look like the David. Either way, you get a great sculpture, even if the pantser ends up with a Pieta instead ;-)

  8. I am also a pantser. At least when it comes to fiction writing. My day job involves drafting contracts, and my muse goes to sleep when I'm writing those. I usually know the beginning and the ending and have a general idea of the middle. But coming up with the connective tissue is a huge challenge.

  9. Eek! I'm so glad for your breakthrough! Those 'God moments' are amazing - I don't know where I'd be without them. Plotless, probably. :)

  10. Congrats on the breakthrough.

    Monica-Marie Holtkamp: I must admit I was left wondering for a little while there about "pantsers" too. It's not a term one hears around here.

  11. Congrats on the breakthrough! There's really very few other feelings that can compare for a writer, isn't there?

    As for me, I missed commenting on your Wednesday post, but I'm all about the word maps. I have three large dry erase boards on my walls in my bedroom near my computer. One for characters, one for plot and one for world building. For any given WIP, all three are scrawled all over with bubbles and arrows and charts and little notes all over the damn things as I drop by any time something occurs to me and add a little note to the board and hunt around with arrows for all the little connectionts I can draw with that. My roommate will come home and see me just standing in front of the boards, tapping the pen against my face as I just stare at them before randomly barking out a 'hah!' and crossing something off the board and scribbling something new in its place. He usually just shakes his head again and leaves, because he knows that means there'll be no talking to me for the rest of the night!

  12. My pantsing is starting to cause me some plot problems, but the moment I sit down and use a 'tool' to fix it, I end up pantsing my way to a solution. Whatever works, works!

  13. Hey, newbie here! I have no clue what a WIP is (however, google is my best friend and I will be employing it right after I write this comment) but I do know about having a break through with something. Congrats! May we all have a similar experience this week!