One Writer’s … Er … Crooked Way …by Susan Lute
“According to The Element Encyclopedia Of Birthdays by Theresa Cheung, my ruling planet is the Sun; my symbol the Lion; my Tarot card The Empress (creativity); my favorable numbers are 2 and 3 (my fav is 3). Lucky days are Sunday and Thursday; lucky colors gold, green, and pale blue; my birthstone is Ruby; and at my best, I’m loyal, adventurous, and idealistic.”
This was me at The Eternal Scribe today. The part I didn’t add, mostly because I didn’t want to shock strangers; at my worst, I’m “interfering, self-important, and reckless.” I hope I’m never reckless with other people’s feelings, but it is true, sometimes I think the world is only my oyster. And don’t get me started on how interfering I can be. In a subtle way of course. I figure you all can take this little insight into my less honorable traits. But wait, there’s more. Worse than being…you know, interfering, self-important, and reckless, I figured out this weekend…I’m a plotter!
Now I don’t mean that as an insult to those of you who ARE plotters, very good at crafting your stories that way, and dang proud of it. I’ve always admired writers who can plot the course of their books, then go merrily on their way until they write, The End. I also truly admire authors who can write their story in one draft before they start revisions.
I, on the other hand have been a little full of myself thinking, “I’m a pantser”, someone who writes a story by the seat of their pants. No plan. Just a beginning, and maybe an end. And, being a linear pantser at that. Start on page one, word one, and keep writing until The End. No deviation. No skipping around.
Imagine my chagrin then, when I discovered this weekend that about two-thirds of the way through Dragon’s Thief, I made a story map. I have irrefutable proof to prove it. Da da da da… The Note Book. While looking for something else, I found the map. Crap. Being a pantser sounds so creative. So exotic. A plotter sounds like…someone who settles into the details of the story and gets her done. That would be me, it turns out. And for the first time, it sounds like fun! No more getting lost in the desert. No more untangling the knots left behind by going over the same ground again and again.
Every writer has their own way. This is me taking a right when I usually go in circles. I have reached CH 5 in Dragon’s Keeper. Page 26, three pages from the point where Carlton and Sage’s goals change. I’ve spent seven months and two weeks figuring out why their goals change. I have the story mapped to the mid-point when there’s no turning back for our intrepid characters. I haven’t been this excited about writing a story since I started Dragon’s Thief on a plane from Portland to Oklahoma.
So until next week when I may return gnashing my teeth, this is one Jane, reporting live, from a writer’s journey.