Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pantsers: How to Not Wander Blindly in Your Own Plot

Hey there, fellow writing penguins.  Haven't done a writing post in a while.  

But I sat down to write on LABYRINTH, so of course, I became inspired to do anything other than that.  So here we have a post.  (Note to self: Attempt to write on LABYRINTH more often.)

I am a pantser, for the most part, when it comes to writing.  (As opposed to a plotter.  For those of you unfamiliar with this term, plotters plan their writing out beforehand, while pantser just kinda...fly by the seat of their pants.)

A side note: I still haven't found my happy medium with this, judging by the number of WIPs I have been unable to finish.  I am probably actually a plotter, or some delicate mix of the two.  Plantser.  Anyway.

For the pantsers out there: do you ever find yourself absolutely lost in what you're writing?  And not in a good way.  I'm talking, your character just fell from a three-story building, you didn't know that was going to happen, and you suddenly have no idea what to do next.  And you sit down to write, but find yourself on youtube watching videos of giraffes.  Later you sit down to write again, and suddenly you realize that you haven't been writing, you're actually parachuting off the Eiffel Tower!  Silly you.

Sometimes writing is like being a penguin and tripping over the cold, unforgiving snow.

It's hard to keep writing when you lose your grip on your plot.

Unlike my title suggests, I'm not going to give you all the answers to staying on track.  (Sorry, I'm not Dumbledore.  Or Gandalf.)

But I do have one tip.

Write ahead of yourself.

I don't mean the end, or a whole outline - but just write a small scene ahead of the point that you're at.  

It's not really even planning.  It's just deciding something is going to happen there, and tentatively writing it in.  Write the scene out.  Just like, 100-500 words.  

Then go back to your current place and start writing.  You haven't planned out what you're going to write, but now you have a point to right to.  A goal - you must get to that scene, whether it takes one chapter, two lines of dialogue, or half the book.  

This has helped me stop wandering so much as a pantser.  It lets me stay free while at the same time having a direction.  

So next time your MC is bleeding out on the floor and you probably have seconds to decide on a way to save her before she bleeds to death, fast forward a bit.  Save a life or two. (Hers, and yours.)

Are you a plotter or a pantser?  Do you ever get hopelessly lost?  What do you do to keep on track with your plot?  

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