Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Age Old Question - Pantster or Outliner?

I used to be a pantster - loved just sitting down and seeing what would happen. Like someone handing me a blank sheet of paper and a box of crayons and saying "draw a masterpiece." I still like doing that sometimes, but I've found it generally leads to long, very involved revisions that, more often than not, turn into complete rewrites. Which adds a LOT of time to the whole process :)

So I tried outlining. Nothing major...just the bare bones. Like coloring in a coloring book. There's an outlined picture that I can fill in any way I choose. I even have a cool little chart where I can plot out the inciting incident, my rising action, a couple turning points/reversals, my climax, and the resolution. I didn't go into detail, just gave myself enough of a road map that I knew where I was going. I liked this method. It gave me the freedom to let things develop as they would with enough of a plan that I didn't experience as many moments of staring at the screen thinking "uhhh and now what?" :D

And then my editor gave me the go-ahead to submit on proposal. Which means I can write a few chapters and a nice synopsis instead of having to submit the whole book first. Writing a synopsis for the entire book, before writing the actual book, meant I needed to know what was going to happen every step of the way before actually writing it. And you know what? I LOVE writing like this. I love sitting and brainstorming the entire book and writing out a synopsis and THEN writing the book. It's like working on one of those paint-by-number projects. I know exactly what's going to happen, exactly what I need to do.

Sure things change. As the story develops, little tweaks happen, new ideas pop up. But for the most part, this method has made writing the actual book so much easier for me. And has greatly cut down on revision time. First drafts have always been difficult for me. I'm great at revisions. If I have something to work with, even if it needs major rewrites, it's much easier than if I'm staring at a blank screen that needs words. This process lets me go crazy (in the brainstorming process) and then lets me stay organized (I LOVE being organized) when I'm actually writing. It's a total win-win for me :)

How do you like to write? Do you like to open a blank page and just let it flow, or do you like mapping out the details first?

Don't forget! Two more days to enter Cole's giveaway!! (see below post)


Mel Chesley said...

Ha! I've been trying to put this very poll on my blog. But Blogger doesn't like it, I don't think. It keeps giving me an error.

Anyway! I used to be a total pantser, now I outline. I'm looking into formulas and the like, trying to utilize my writing ability the quickest way I know how. Simply sitting down and writing isn't working very well for me these days as far as speed goes. Maybe I will try this process, just to see. :D

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Thanks for sharing this evolution of your writing method! It sounds exciting! I'm a pantser by nature, but if I don't outline a little bit, I get lost. It's embarrassing, really. I need to practice outlining more, though. I tend to jump into the writing part too quickly before my outline is formed enough and then... I STILL get lost. Bleh. I'm a work in progress.

p.s. Sooooo excited for Treasured Lies!!!