This week on Thinking Thursdays we are tackling the question: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Simple answer is:
I’m a both.
Majority of the time when it comes to writing I will be a pantser. I find my mind flows better when I’m not restricted by a set of restraints plotting puts on my style. I like the surprises I have when I write without plans because the story may end in a completely different way than what I believed it would be when I was working at the beginning.
With that said, since I am writing a series I have been doing some plotting. Not a lot of plotting but enough to hinder my voice… just enough that the story stays on track.
Once I have completed a book and it’s released I read through, taking notes of the important pieces that I foreshadowed to make sure I don’t miss revealing them in a later book. I also do a brief breakdown of what each character in the next book is going to do, what their plan/ goals are, and how they are going to reach them. It is then I start typing.
Something you all have to understand is I never look at a book as just one book. When I’m writing I look at a book like it is one episode in a season… or maybe better a season in a series. When I’m writing Children of Sirphan my brain is already thinking of what is happening in book 5 or 6. When I’m figuring out a chapter in book 3, my brain is thinking of ways to solve an issue in book 4. I write my stories with a large array of knowledge stuffed in my tiny brain that directs me to writing what ends up in the books I have and will be publishing.
People would say, “Well, Deanna, isn’t that plotting?”
To them I say, not really because when I come across an issue that I didn’t think about while writing my current book that one change could change the entire story my brain had pre-made for me to write. That means my brain sets fire to everything it has come up with, destroying my mind castle to its foundation before picking up the stones to start building everything again. I don’t have a set plan written down, or chapters jotted out. My notes are filled with character interactions but in all sense of the word I have no idea what they are going to do.
I have an end goal in mind – meaning I know how the series will end and various footpaths on how they could get there but I don’t have any set plans on which paths they are going to take.
The best way I can describe my writing approach is that I’m a DM (Dungeon Master) and my characters are my players. I have given them a world, their equipment, their skills but it is their personalities/ actions that drive the game. I could have planned them to take the left path but instead they chose the right leading to a completely different event but working towards the set end.
Does that make sense or have I lost all of you with that analogy?
Anyways the point I’m trying to make is that I’m not a traditional plotter type writer but at the same time I’m not a pantser either. I have ideas and plans on where I want my characters to go but sometimes they change the direction of the game. It keeps me interested in my writing and in turn continues to prove to me how much I love to write. I never know what my characters have planned and that’s fine with me.