WISDOM was a “Pantser”

I’m going to spin off of Storytellgirl’s blog “Beginning at the End” where it talks about the difference between being a Pantser or a Plotter, and your thoughts on how it’s worked for different writers.

When I first started writing Wisdom, I started out a Pantser (write from the seat of your pants). I didn’t have a clear focus on where the story was going. Yet I knew what characters I wanted to feature. By the year 2000, I had written a 200 page novel that featured those characters, but the story itself was nothing more than a collection of shorter tales. What I wanted was a novel.

So I took the first three pages and started developing a simple outline, which consisted of a mere chapter title and little else. As I started delving deeper into the plot, I realized there was more to it than just “write what I think”. I really needed to “know” what was going to happen. By the time I reached book 3, I was fully fleshing out outlines like a synopsis. Granted, I nearly always change something along the way.

I have to think back to the movie Pirates of the Caribbean when they say, “Hang the code! It’s merely a guideline!” Because it really is. There’s no set stone in which we as writers can write. For me, outlines work great. But it’s merely a guide. If something changes, then I’ll go back and add an “edit” section within the outline to write out what really happened.

For book 4 No’va, I did something a little different. I wrote out basic plot lines that I knew were going to happen. For example:

  1. – Tia returns home after feeling a bit better from the Healer’s gentle words. She’s not sure why, but she’s compelled to listen to him. When she comes into her room, she catches her son toying with one of Jenario’s trinkets and takes it away. It’s something he’s been working on, but in her haste to get it away from her son she breaks it.
  2. – Providence apologizes for his behavior and will see to it that his family gets what they need. Jenario agrees to remain silent about the incident. But his heart is beginning to harden. 
  3. – Jenario encourages Nathan to come work for him. He always wants more to write, more to study. 

After writing several of these, I then cut them out and rearranged them in the order I thought they might come. Yet instead of building an actual outline, I wrote more out to fill the space inbetween like a synopsis. The actual outline I’m building as I write the story, but I’m using my summarized plot to help get where I need to be.

It’s a good feeling when you can look at something you’ve created and say “I think this is going to be good.” Even if it’s still in plot lines, outlines, or however you like to write, there’s nothing wrong with building a good story structure.

And if you’re a total pantser, like how I was… there’s still a lot of good things that come of it. I got one now. And I’m loving every moment of it!

Deep Waters

Composed on the iPad Pro with Garageband. Was merely playing around, but the sound effects are pretty nice. I was toying with the DJ section, which is not really meant to create an actual song – but comes pretty close. I think it’s a nice enhancement. I could use this to create repetitive beats and then layer instruments over top.

I may have written about this type of character scenario before, but I’m revisiting the plot points and possible love interest. Not that I’d write it anytime soon, but just to get it out there. 

The story involves a girl named Christauni, who leaves her family to become a Shade. In this world, Shades are beings of the night. They can move between walls, and even between worlds, but can never tough or physically influence. Her goal is to find the last remaining Light and protect it against the forces of Darkness spreading across the land.

Legends claim that a great Light once reigned over the land, spreading joy and beauty. But those of the shadow world lusted after its power. They wanted what they couldn’t have. And so they went after it. Most likely, these were either men or creatures within the Light’s world that just wanted more power. In the end, the light separated into four pieces and scattered to the four corners of the land to better protect its people and keep the Darkness at bay. Each piece of Light went to a different person. And yet at every turn, these people were in danger… and soon began disappearing or were found dead. Their trinkets or baubles that contained the Light were either broken or missing.

All but one…

Christauni swore she would find the final Light and help protect it. She thought by becoming a Shade that this would help. But nothing is straight forward as soon she walks into the Realm of Eternal Night. Out of her innocence, she finds herself bound in the control of Darkness, which merely uses her as a tool to seek out the final Light.

But light is not where she thinks it is. Most times, it’s in an object. What she finds instead, is an actual person with the light inside of him, who wields a crimson staff that comes to his calling as though the Light were within that instead. But it’s a ruse. Anyone can take the staff, but they can’t take the Light from a person.

Azryael is this person. Born as a cripple, his family abandoned him as a child due to his illness and unlikely recovery. In the forest, the Light found him, healed him, and has been with him into his adult years. He seeks and destroys Shades and other shadows of Night. The power he has comes directly from the Grand Light, the one that heals and has other magical properties. Although Azry can do magic, it’s all because of the Light he carries.

Christauni vows to protect him, but Azry knows that Darkness is just using her. He tells her it already knows where the final Light is because she has not left his side. And Shades that stay too long are easily tracked.

With the Light inside of him, Azry can walk between worlds, that of Light and Shadow. They need to find and release the other Lights. It’s the only way to restore peace to the land and banish the creatures of Night.


Masquerade Watercolors

I’m offering my original painting of “Masquerade” for sale on for anyone who’s interested in a true traditional piece. Features the main characters Wisdom and Glory from the Wisdom Novels® series.

This was completed using Sketchbox monthly art supplies from July 2016.

Link here:

“Keep up!” Providence darted overhead as a dark gray and tan mocking bird. That striking blotch of white along the underside of the wings flashed with each stroke, almost mocking in itself while Jenario and companions struggled to keep pace. The several mile hike to the base of a mountain slope had been easy. Now as they climbed, gradual slant turned into an uphill trudge of gripping tree limbs and roots to help pull themselves along.

“Easy for you to say.” Shafari offered dirty looks between Thomas Gracie and Jenario. Nathan, however, seemed to enjoy the challenge.

“‘Bout time we get out of that place!” the Trapper called from way ahead. “Small chat ain’t my thing!”

“Thought you might enjoy the outing.” Thomas Gracie said.

“Be better on the hunt!”

“Well, while you’re at it, care to share some of that energy?” Jenario paused to catch his breath and received an overhead cackle from Providence.

“I promise the view is worth the effort!”

Now we’re starting to hit some of the juicy parts. After the companions get situated in Healer territory, it’s time to go exploring. At present, Providence is leader of his people and has agreed to give them a tour. Perfect! We’ll get a chance to view some of the key areas that will soon become home to humans.

Keep in mind, there are still Black Wings lurking about, Moss Dragons, and probably a whole slew of other issues that have yet to be identified. But one thing’s for certain, we’re one chapter away from Jenario receiving his first favor from the unicorn!

For those who don’t know, Sketchbox is a monthly art subscription that delivers unique and sometimes unheard of art supplies to your door. It’s a nice way to discover new brands and test out new products. So far, I’ve been doing the Premium box, which is around $35 a month, plus shipping.

I’ve looked into other boxes, but this one serves my drawing purposes, and I just love what they send!

Jenario wanted to run back, but for Ahnalee’s sake he stayed by her side. Her swollen belly was a sure sign of what was coming in the next few months, and gave her gate a slight waddle. At this stage, any man would have been proud to know he would soon be a father, but Nathan was a different kind of man. He was a Trapper. Big game was his only trait. But a baby? Jenario nearly laughed. Better get used to it.

Some things are not entirely planned in writing. For instance, I use the word “Trapper” to define a huntsman. This was not something planned in my newest novel. It was not something I mentioned in any of the previous books. Yet here it is, defining a role in this particular society.

So where do these things come from? How does a backstory begin to unfold in certain characters, and objects and descriptions reveal themselves when they’ve never been suggested before? It’s almost the same question as “How do you know when to stop a chapter?”

So… how do you plan something in writing that’s not planned?

I find when this happens, it’s mostly because I’ve written out far enough to then go back and start filling in details. Think of it as a painting. The picture’s not complete without details. Otherwise, it’s just a blotch of color on a canvas with no defining faces or what they might be doing.

Once you’ve got the storyline going, go back and define your characters or scene. How do they act? Are they twiddling their fingers because they’re nervous? Anything they’re wearing that might clue a reader in to their environment? How do they speak? Little things like that make a unique experience. It gives you insight to what a character might be like, even if you’ve just met them.

“Finally!” Nathan grabbed up Jenario’s free hand in a firm shake. “Maybe this new place will offer some decent game.”

“You’ll be game if you don’t stop fiddling with that dagger.” Ringlets of curly, blond hair fell across her shoulder when she moved to shield her husband’s blade from the baby.

“It’s new.” However, Nathan obliged his wife’s concerns and slipped it alongside a set of others on his belt. He was always carrying a weapon, and to Jenario’s understanding, even when he was not supposed to.

So here we meet Nathan. In the previous books, we already know he’s destined to be Jenario’s assassin. So why not start showing his interest early on? Playing with a new dagger in front of a baby seems a good start. Eventually, I’ll add more details as the story progresses so we really see how he acts when gets out on a hunt.

So how do you write what’s not planned? It’s all in the details.


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