"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin

Monday, May 13, 2013

Do Not Pass Go...

Photo: New America(.net)

"...I write chapter outlines so I can have 
the pleasure of departing from them later on..." 
- Garth Nox

Hey! I know that I have not posted in about a month but I'm still here ;-} I've been wrestling my wip. Until now, I've been happily flying by the seat of my pants - 30,000 words' worth (yay). Then... crickets. Enrolled in a few RWA online workshops, a few lightbulbs and a bit of inspiration garnered another 4,000 then those damned crickets returned (Grrr). Plan B: return to my bread and butter - research. Deborah Dixon (G.M.C.) Angela Knight (Passionate Ink), Buckham & Love (Break Into Fiction). The ladies helped quite a bit, but they also filled my head with a cacophony (grimace). After yet another night, when squeezing out a sentence felt like passing a gallstone, I 'stepped' back and ruminated on the/my process. Let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight. 
There I was, on the raggedy edge...

Solely 'pantsing' was obviously not working; but writing out intricate diagrams and charts for my nearly dozen characters (major, minor and walk-ons) SO did not work for my flow either. I thought that I had to be either a pantser or a plotter. I chose one and stubbornly clung to it. But, as this journey continued, and I struggled to fit my metaphorical red tipped feet into too small stilettos (ouch!), I realized that I became caught up in semantics.   What if I'm not one or the other but a little bit of both - defined by my own particular spicy flow? Isn't that what a writer does: take the bits and pieces that fit and file away the rest for possible future use? Time to mix it up a little.

I grabbed my trusty notebook. I wrote major character templates before I wrote a single wip sentence. But they were never complete. Now I realize that's because I'm discovering new things about my characters as the plot develops and new conflicts get thrown into the mix. Cool, I can work with this. But I've started a 2nd notebook - all plotting to keep it clear. One short paragraph for the overall chapter's theme, one sentence for each scene within that chapter, then I get my pantser on and keep adding layers in no particular order. I'm finding that my 'Temple outline' keeps me focused and gives me clear direction (even if I make changes in the interim). Before I knew it I had pantser-plotted my way to the end - hallelujah!

I've given myself a tentative completed draft deadline - 1 June. And for the first time I think that I just might actually make it. Alright back to work. Send me some positive vibes. Allons-y!

'Til we meet again,


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