I am a panster.
For those that haven’t heard this term before, it means I write books “by the seat of my pants” rather than plotting out my novels.
My prep work involves knowing who the characters are, a little bit about them, and the high-level issues they’re facing. Combined with a huge dose of “I really want to write about them”.
There’s a lot of debate about pantsing versus plotting. Plotting is where you spend a lot more time outlining what’s going to happen and when.
I’ve tried plotting.
And I have 4 novels with 10k-20k words in them that I’ll probably never complete. I’m not sure why plotting doesn’t work for me.
Maybe I feel like the story has already been told when I plot. Maybe I get bored writing it. Maybe I rush forward to write all the plot points and ignore the characters.
I’m not sure, but I do know it doesn’t work. For me.
Writing To Love a Prince really taught me this. I started this story three times. I have one 60k work that is not salvageable where Prince Eli was supposed to be the hero. Yeah. 60k. But it was awful.
And it wasn’t Eli.
I couldn’t make him weak. I couldn’t make him indecisive. He needed to be in control, and if he wasn’t, he was going to fight like an injured bear to get back into control.
He also didn’t care much what society said about him. He was a Prince. Let them fear him. Despise him. But they would respect him or face his wrath.
Yeah. The first story I wrote with him being injured and nursed back to health failed spectacularly. The second story where he was stymied by social pressure made him raise a brow. He almost rolled his eyes at me, but he’s too dignified for that.
Sure, the stories were plotted, but they weren’t his story. So I let him tell his. I was very hesitant at how the story progressed, especially as it involved a slave and royal succession.
I also worried Auburn’s kindness would be perceived as weakness. I tried changing her, but it just didn’t work. She had to be who she was because Eli fell in love with her for that. In a world as conniving as the court he’d grown up in, Auburn was his beacon of light.
I tried plotting once or twice more after To Love a Prince, but those failed, too.
So now I write by the seat of my pants. Yes, it means a lot more revisions. But I love writing that first draft! Seeing the characters revealed, their love grow, and see them overcome whatever I throw at them..
That is why I write.
I wouldn’t say learned, exactly, but perhaps was strongly reminded of in a less than subtle way.
5 Things I Learned about Myself on Vacation
I Like Need Things Planned
This whole going with the flow thing is for people that are not me. I need to know what we’re doing and when. I want plans solidified. Train schedules plotted out. Museum hours accounted for. Not, this doesn’t apply to my writing, but it does everything else (which is why it still stymies me as to why I can’t be a plotter).
I Like (Need) Things to Be on Time
In my family, if you’re not five minutes (okay, fifteen) early, you’re late. Why yes, my ancestors are German, why do you ask? I try very hard to be on time and ready to go, which I accomplished all the time every time before we had children. Now, I feel like I have to tell everyone we need to leave thirty minutes sooner than we actually do just to have a chance at leaving on time.
And when we’re late anyway? Plans start to fall apart.
Crowds Make Me Edgy
I don’t like crowds. I’ve never liked crowds. Most of my life, I’ve been content to shop first thing in the morning to avoid crowds. Then, internet shopping became a thing, and I could shop whenever I liked without having to talk to a soul.
But every single thing that involves a family vacation also seems to avoid crows. Lots of them.
I Am Not Pleasant When Stressed
Who is, really? And no, breathing techniques don’t work.
Stress Causes Migraines
And these make me even more pleasant! What was the point of this vacation again?
Remember that kitchen remodel I was dreading? Well, it didn’t happen. Why, you ask? Because the contractor never showed up, and he won’t return our calls or texts.
Yeah. I have an empty kitchen and a house full of materials for a remodel we now have to start over with finding a contractor to do.
It means by the time they start, I won’t have a kitchen for Thanksgiving or Christmas. After waiting months for it to even start. With a torn apart kitchen in the meantime.
I am struggling with this, especially with two small children. I’m having trouble sleeping, and my eating habits are not doing well. I’m also about to start busy season at work.
*Grabs paper bag* *breaths deeply*
Yeah, things are going fine. Perfectly fine.