Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Fricassee

I've just watched one of the FASTEST Secret Agents in MSFV history.  She sent me her list of winners yesterday afternoon already!  And what a list it is.

(Who, me? Enjoy teasing you?)

So I've had a lousy week (the writerly me, not the *real* me).  (Wait, are they different?) As in, I haven't been this unproductive while working on a story since--well, I haven't exactly approached working on a story this way before.

You know how I've always said once a pantser, always a pantser?  Yeah, that.  I'm all for more organization and getting main plot points in order.  In fact, it's safe to say that I will NEVER begin a novel cold again.  It's too much work on the back end.

But this planning-things-before-I-even-know-my-characters-well-enough?  IT'S REALLY HARD.

I've stared so much this week that I think my eyes have shrunk and will soon pop out and roll away.

Funny, how I never stared while I was at the shore.  Funny, how the beach lubricated my mind within minutes of settling into my early-morning beach  chair.  Too bad I wasn't working on this story that week.

Anyway.  I'm not whining about it.  Just being honest.

I do have one small bit of productivity to announce: I've finally begun the list of published authors with MSFV success stories.  Not much more than an alphabetical list at this point; I'll be adding links soon.  But it's a start, right?


If you are a published author who boasts an MSFV success story, and your name is not on this list, please email me ASAP!

That's all for now.  Winners on Monday--and the start of a fresh, new week as well!


  1. I actually like pantsing, and I've just recently joined the Church of Writing on the Fly. I hate revising either way, but drafting seems much easier this way for me.

    In any case, I hope things on the writing front lighten up a bit for you soon! But in the mean time - success stories! W00T!

  2. I'm still a pantster. Most of the time I write an entire novel and then completely re-write it. I like to get a feel for my characters' unbridled reactions without plotting, but yes, it is a lot of work.

  3. Still pantsing...just can't imagine working twice as hard through outlining, planning, etc. :-)

  4. I'm a pantster at heart too - but I'm also trying to add more organization to the beginning part of the process. Only the barest of outlines of course, but I'm hoping it helps with the rewrites later! :)

  5. I'm with Jemi. I start with a sketchy outline and a boatload of ideas on post-it notes. I love the freedom on pantsing.

  6. Blogger just ate my response, sigh.

    Hang in there! If something isn't working for you modify it until it fits your style. I'm still working on finding the right balance between planning and pantsing. I've overplanned (killing the story before I even wrote it) and underplanned (causing the rewrite from Hades!).

    This time I started with a glimmer of a story spine. I didn't even know my characters' names (a first for me!). I just started writing to see what happened. This worked pretty well till I hit Act 2. Now I find I need to take days to brainstorm and plot so I have more direction to my scenes. There is still a ton I don't know, but i'm building a small trail for me to follow and work toward. I don't outline (a myth I think about plotting). I like to be able to visually see my story so I chunk information while brainstorming and then graph out the different story threads on a large sheet of paper. This way I can evaluate each thread, make sure they are related to each other and the larger story goal and that i'm filling in the gaps. Since i'm plotting as I go there are tons of holes on my story threads but it helps when I need to brainstorm ideas when i'm stuck.

    I also set up a longterm goal and daily goals. To further keep me on track, I started a small group on Facebook where I have to report in to a few friends and family on my progress or fear being razzed if I don't make my goals. Talk about motivation!

    Hope some of this helps and good luck!

  7. I'm a pantser. but after having to entirely rewrite my last book, I thought I should try to be a little more organized. And I hate it. The book is crawling along at a snail's pace, and I'm not that motivated to work on it. I think it's because I know what's coming next and there's not fun in that...

  8. Man, I wouldn't even know where to start without my outline. As much as I wish I was a pantser (first time I've used that word in a sentence :)), I'm a plotter all the way. One of the things that really helps me is writing the major plot points on note cards and playing with the order of things. That way I can actually SEE how the story'll play out.
    Hope you have better luck this weekend Authoress, and thanks so much for this awesome blog of yours!
    Ninja Girl
    Ninja Girl

  9. I've usually got a one or two sentence outlien for each scene. Something basic like: "so-in-so goes to this place and discovers _insert whatever here_".
    It may not stay in the chapter I thought it would, or even stay true to the outline, but I find it keeps me heading in the right direction.
    Sometimes anyway.

  10. "But this planning-things-before-I-even-know-my-characters-well-enough? IT'S REALLY HARD."

    Ah, this makes all kinds of sense.

    I don't think there's any way around this--either way you're going to have to get to know the characters as you go, and ultimately rewrite the beginning (at the least).

    I get to know my characters while I'm outlining. The more detailed the outline gets, the clearer the scenes play out in my head and the better I get to know the characters.

    It's not perfect, but it helps.

  11. I'm a panster. I've tried plotting everything out and then my writing comes to a complete stop. No new words on the page until I give up and toss out the plotting.


  12. Knowing the characters before working the plot is critical to my own writing.

    As my creative writing teach used to say, take an interesting character who wants something enough to give up everything, stick them into a volatile setting, and the plot is cake.