Write Towards The Answer

This current WIP is a strange, schizophrenic thing.

I am still in the beginning, the first quarter of the book, and I find myself writing scenes out of order and piecemeal. I have long hand notes for two scenes that need typing in and expanding (yanno, if the cat would get off my arms …) and I have plans to set out all my cool research books on my dining room table along with my big art board to do some serious plot noodling.

Mostly, ’cause I’m not sure how to go about doing all the cool stuff I want to do in this novel. Which is better than being stuck without ideas, that’s for sure! It’s just that right now it feels like the ideas I have don’t (necessarily) belong in the same story. I’m at the point where, at least if I have learned anything from my previous WIPs, I simply need to be writing more than I am noodling, that the plot will either find a way to weave all these ideas together or I will end up down one path that will exclude the other. I have a good handle on the characters now, to the point where I am not obsessing about who they are, what they desire, and what they might do to get it. I use the word might in there because that’s where I am running into trouble. There are a lot of things my antagonists might do, given the opportunity. I just don’t know what, exactly.

Cause that depends on what my heroes do.

Which depends on what my villains do.

So far I have a few rounds of back and forth figured out and half written. I need to write the rest to figure out the next big steps. I used to fret about this a lot, not knowing I could write my way towards the answer. In truth, that always seems to be the way with me — I don’t know what I am going to think or say or come up with until I set pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. It just blurts out and my reply is, “Well, DUH, of course I thought that.” But it used to really stall me on projects. When I tried writing novels in my 20s I would get obsessed with wanting to plan it all out before hand and if I couldn’t, I would just stop working on the novel. Or rework it and then get stuck again.

It wasn’t until NaNoWriMo and my first two completed WIPs (the first that shall forever remain trunked and the second, LAST WITCH, that is being workshopped in my writing group) that I learned I could cheat, that I could write my way towards the answer. Not complete pantsing. And not complete outlining. Some mutant hybrid of the two and thus, to me, freakish.

Maybe not so freakish. I’d seen others write about a process they used that mirrored mine once or twice, but this popped up in my RSS feeds and I read it and relaxed and knew exactly what he was talking about. Here’s the link to the article: http://magicalwords.net/stuart-jaffe/planning-i-was-a-teenage-pantser/

Does this mean I am a pants half-on writer, or half-off? And is either way more or less flattering than the other?

Oh well, so long as it gets the job done. 🙂

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