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;Steam punk girl with Typewriter. 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. Dragons Theif Button 300 x 225Page 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.

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on June 25, 2013, in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Fun post! I’m a little of both. Not total plotter and not a full blown panster. And it works for me. I think each writer just needs to find the route to the end of the story that works for them and stick to it.

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  2. I love what Viola said! I consider myself a pantser but in all other aspects of my life, I’m very organized and plan everything out. And I never finish the draft before I start revising either.

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  3. theeternalscribe

    LOL, I am totally a pantser. And the worst kind too. When I’m lucky, it goes from start to middle to end. That rarely happens. And I jump from story to story too. My idea of “plotting” is scribbling down notes on post its, random sheets of paper, miscellaneous discarded notebooks (I have a fondness for pretty notebooks, but never seem to write more than a few pages in each), a variety of notetaking softwares on both my laptop and my tablet, and a Reminders program that gets unbelievably convoluted. Every once in a while, I try to organize my notes. Make them make sense again. Strangely, writing is the only part of my life where I’m not organized. It’s chaos, which has been known to cause problems at times. Somehow, I feel more comfortable in the chaos, at least most of the time. I feel like I need it for creativity. It’s also why I don’t write regularly but tend to write in marathons, like my most recent nearly 40k word marathon that lasted a little over two weeks. Many days I wrote over 6k words. But I might go just as long on a dry spell where I don’t feel like writing, even if I have stuff to write (I know the entire plot). I’m just weird, I guess.

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    • LOL! No, you sound like a writer. I always have scraps of notes too, but I try to get them all in one place, taped into a trade size notebook. I started out putting everything in three-ring binders – I still use these for the “bibles”. Then I transitioned to spiral notebooks – there are some really cool ones out there. Currently I have a love affair going with trade size notebooks, the newest ones made for me with my book covers as the cover. Now that’s cool, and very easy to tote around 😀

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      • theeternalscribe

        I tend to like leather-bound notebooks myself. I have a purple one that is just too cute. Still, the notes are organized (sort of). They’re all surrounding my desk (mostly). 😉

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  4. Keep at it! Look forward to reading your next book.

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  5. You minx! You are looking at your shadow side, the plotter. Sing the twilight tune with me. Do, do, do, do….do, do, do, do. And tell your “walk-in” I’m watching. 🙂

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  6. The road to a finished manuscript is varied. Sounds like you use the best of both plotter and panster, then meld in to what works for you!

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  7. Whatever works, I always say. I plot a little, plan a little, plow on through a little, and then go back and really plot the whole thing to make it work. After the first draft is done..

    Barb

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  8. Sounds like maybe you’ve found the best of both worlds! A pantser who plots, or a plotter who can wing it from the seat of her pants with the best of them. 🙂 Best of luck with the story! ~ Viola

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