Monday, January 20, 2014

The Process of a Pantser

An author friend who plots recently asked me about my revision process. She's trying to fine-tine a process that works for her, and wondered what I do.

It got me to thinking about a process that's taken a few years of trial and error, and certainly one that could use improvement. At least from where I sit. I'm what most would call a "pantser", that is I don't plan and plot. I don't make out charts and graphs and do personality quizzes on my characters (though this is something I'm going to do - the personality quiz, that is).

Charts and graphs make me crazy - I believe they are primarily a left brain function, and I admire writers who have full access to both sides of their brain. Apparently I do not, or maybe I wouldn't want to throw up when I see a graph.

But I do believe in the three act structure, and this is where I begin. I always have an idea of the hero and heroine types I will write about, and the inciting incident. By my third book, I had come up with the turning points and black moment (called the climax in other genres)before I began to write. However, of course these changed. Naturally. Hence, the pantser label.

Something about the process of writing jiggles my brain. If I were to try to figure this out beforehand I'd sit and stare at a blank piece of paper. Believe me, I've tried. Nothing comes to me.

The current process, therefore, is that I prepare four folders - Act I, Act II-1, Act II-2, and Act III. This helps me to know where the turning points must be, and helps the revision process since I'm not dealing with one very large document.

Since I aim for an 80K word count, I know each act should be in the 20K range or thereabout. That's my goal.

Usually, that goal is met in revisions. Is the first draft 20K in each Act? Puhleese, don't make me laugh. No.

Someday, I'd love to be in on the process of a plotter - how they work it out, plot point by point. I'd love to be a fly on the wall and see their notes. Not that I'm going to copy them (horrors) but I might be able to use said process in my own work.

Anyway, hope springs eternal.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to my world LOL! I have a synopsis for one project and when I look at it, I freeze. :-)

    Good luck and God's blessings with your writing career!