Building Walls and Novels by the Seat of my Pants.

Hello once again readers, I’m back! Thank you so much for returning to the silly ramblings that I, the Writing Fisherman, casts out. August came in hard and wet for me and was one of my more difficult months I’ve had in recent memory. Get your mind out of the gutter, my house flooded… again. Like for the third time this Summer!  After that I pulled out all the stops to keep this from happening ever again by building a new, bigger, stronger retaining wall, thereby redesigning the landscape of my yard. It took me all month to complete and I still ache.

But you didn’t tune in to read about my wall even though it appropriately fits in with today’s subject. So let me ask, what type of writer are you? More specifically I should ask, what is your writing style? planster2Do you plan your story out with charts and a chapter to chapter synopsis? Maybe use a cork board with index cards or perhaps it’s more like a crime scene with strings webbed across a wall, connecting the pictures? Or perhaps you just fly through the story letting it flow out of you as it comes? In other words, a Pantser.

I originally never knew what kind of a writer I was. I’ve been working on and off with my current story since 2011 so I might have thought I was a planner. I mean after all, I had the general direction for the story. I had most of the characters and locations fleshed out. Except as accomplished as I felt for planning it so much, I really had nothing to show for it. I think I had a collection of small scenes equating to 2,500 words total.

Then last year, when I decided to get serious with my writing, I took my general direction I had planned out and jumped headlong into NaNoWriMo. I LOVED IT!  The freedom of no thinking, just write it, was exhilarating. I was finally writing my novel and man-o-man was the word count stacking up.  For me, the best part of it was experiencing my characters actually ‘speaking’ to me. They told me their story. Told me what should happen and what they wanted. On more than one occasion, I physically gasped at something shocking they did which I hadn’t planned on! Things I didn’t know about my own characters!calvin376_2 I also learned that writing freely from my inspiration was at the heart of my writing.
Like so many of my posts here, when the inspiration strikes, I gotta run with it quick before it disappears!

After completing my rough draft I took some time away from it before starting the re-writing/editing phase which I’ve worked on devotedly for over six months now. The problem I keep running into is that joy of ‘pantsing’ had created quite a few plot strings I hadn’t planned for. New characters have been introduced which seem to promise things I have no intention of following up on. These minor character gained more attention than I meant to, inadvertently forcing some of my key side characters to suffer from this. That’s not even the worse part of it! The worst is by pantsing, I’ve created side plots which has taken the story in a different direction than where I need it to go! Egads and Gadzooks!

Thank goodness for my writing group for pointing these things out to me now. I’ve been going a chapter at a time (not always in order) and so I’ve not noticed before how crazy my early chapters had become.  Just like my retaining wall, my novel needs some planning to get it done right. Stone by stone, I need to inspect each plot, and character, to ensure what is going on is not only what I planned, but also the right step.

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The silver lining to the pantsing, aside from completing a first draft, is that it did indeed create some wonderful things which came forth naturally from the character’s voice. Not from my planning. So I suppose it’s about time to pull out the ‘ol cork board and start double checking the blueprints now, before it gets away from me and I have a bigger mess to deal with.

Has this happened to you? Do you carefully plan out your stories or are you a Pantser as well? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, see ya!

 

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About Jason A. Meuschke

Happily married, father of four who has always been a dreamer and is finally pursuing those dreams! Follow along and read my silly thoughts as I approach the end of my first novel.
This entry was posted in Am writing, Distractions, Editing/Revising, Fiction Writing, First Draft, NaNoWriMo, Planning Your Novel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Building Walls and Novels by the Seat of my Pants.

  1. mjennings says:

    Good piece! I’m definitely a planner/plotter, but I think you’ve uncovered something pretty awesome about pantsing for a change — that your character’s/narrator’s voice work well being set loose (as it should — it’s a human being after all!). That said though, as you’ve indicated, when pantsing, plot issues may happen. Sometimes, one may even forget what had previously occurred when pantsing a story/novel. Still, pantsing allows such freedom from being tightly bound, which (also as you’ve mentioned) allows us to take part in events like NaNoWriMo.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Surprising Things I Learned the Year I Won NaNoWriMo | Beyond the Precipice

  3. SBibb says:

    I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I like to plan ahead via a lot of daydreaming, but at the same time, I like the freedom to let the scene go where it wants to go. Problem is, that does tend to create new characters or plot arcs that I hadn’t originally intended on. But sometimes those will actually be more interesting that what I had planned on, so I’ll do a bit more daydreaming to see where I can take them.

    Liked by 2 people

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