In the spirit of transparency, and to give credence to the saying "never say never", I am here to report that I am officially no longer a pantser.
WAIT, DID I JUST SAY THAT?
Okay, sometimes it makes me panic. As in, have I left behind my roots and moved on--for real? Can the I-was-born-this-way in me have morphed so dramatically?
Well, let me clarify. If the word "plotter" conjures visions of carefully annotated outlines or neat stacks of numbered notecards, that's not me. But I've spoken before, in glowing terms, of Blake Snyder's "beat sheet" and the marvelous way it translates to novel writing (it's designed for screenplays), which definitely falls into the "plotter" category.
And I'm officially saying that I will never write another novel without a beat sheet.
Yep. I said never!
I've just finished a WIP in 3 months, which is my normal time frame. But THIS time, I've got a story with an arc that isn't broken in twelve places. It WORKS! Now, that doesn't mean the piece doesn't need a whole lot of work. In fact, I'm already super-antsy to dig in. (This, and I promised myself I would tuck this novel away until much later. Hah! You know how it goes.)
But, truly, the difference between THIS first draft and my LAST first draft is astounding. And I don't want to go back to the way things were.
It makes a huge difference to know where you're going. And I don't just mean the ending--I think that, for the most part, even the most hard-core pantsers have at least some idea where the story will end. But "knowing where you're going" is about way more than just "The End." The exhilaration of ALWAYS knowing where I was going next--even if I'd just come up with a new scene or secondary storyline--is indescribable. And so FREEING!
Yes, I've converted. Chortle, applaud, roll your eyes, or lament at will.
On top of the whole I'm-a-plotter-now thing, my WIP is written in first person present. And, yeah. I used to HATE first person present. As in, Hate. Capitalized. But you know how a story often begs to be told a certain way? That's what happened. This story is a fairly intense YA dystopian (I can't stop writing them!), and from the moment I conceived it, I knew it had to be first person present.
Funny how, even three quarters of the way through, I still sometimes reverted to "said" without realizing I'd done it. But for the most part, I found my rhythm and groove quickly, and actually enjoyed writing in this tense.
So there you have it. You know how I continually refer to this writing-toward-publication thing as a journey? This is yet another example. And it feels wonderful!
What about you? Have you morphed into anything lately?