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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!

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Comments on: "WISDOM was a “Pantser”" (1)

  1. Great insight into the origins of your Wisdom series. And I love your analogy of plotting being more like guidelines than strict rules. 😉 “Hang the code!”

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