… and I’m a pantser.

That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but it’s hard for me to admit. I keep insisting to all and sundry that I’m a plotter.

Why do I insist I’m a plotter?

When I’m writing, I sit down and figure out who my hero is – I interview him, I figure out where he is in his family hierarchy – is the the oldest child, youngest, middle child? What’s his astrological sign? What’re his likes, dislikes, etc. What’s his Achilles heel? His hobbies. Same with the heroine. I’ve even done big family trees and determined what their relationships are with their grandparents and great grandparents – especially when they live 200 years in the fantasies I wrote. I make outlines in point form of the highlights I have to hit. I make GMC charts. I question my plots – WHY is the hero reacting this way? WHY does the heroine not want or want this or that or the other? Why wouldn’t they have just emailed each other? Is this realistic or cliched? I’m pretty sure I drive my critique partners crazy about stupid details when I’m starting to plot only to abandon them (my ideas) two days later. And then I rewrite all my charts and smooth out all the wrinkles before I start writing. Then at about 20K I got back through them all again and smooth out more wrinkles and write a second outline And a third. And a fourth.

I’ve spent since last Saturday ‘plotting’ out the book Michelle Rowen challenged me to write for submission to Harlequin. I’ve interviewed my characters, I’ve got the GMC charts, I even bought dry-erase calendars and started creating charts of what every chapter’s going to achieve. I have books, and papers, and charts, and stickies all over my desk.

Isn’t that the sign of a plotter, I ask you?

Well, apparently it’s not.

Yesterday morning I finally decided that I was ready to start writing the *cue dramatic music here* first chapter. I’d written a half page – a HALF PAGE – and all of a sudden the hero’s younger, and rather geeky, half-brother gets out of the taxi with him and starts discussing architecture. His half-brother! No where on my charts did he have a half-brother. A sister, yes, but no younger brothers, let alone a half-brother!

Where the heck did he come from?

So here I stand in front of the Writers Anonymous group meeting …
Hi, I’m Leah. I’m a pantser.

Hi, my name is Leah …
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4 thoughts on “Hi, my name is Leah …

  • May 16, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Well see, that gives me hope because YES I started moving beyond the pansterness and using dry erase boards, storyboarding yadda yadda and I’m like, OH NO, I’m not a panster anymore. I plot.

    Until the otherday finishing my current plotted book and I wanted to have the villain go to Newgate Debtor’s prison.

    He blew his brains out instead.

    So I do know. LOL!

  • May 16, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Welcome to Plotzerville!
    I plot, but always get surprised by unexpected things my characters say and do. GO WITH IT!
    Embrace it. Let the muse flow 🙂

  • May 16, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Well, I’m a pantser and there’s not a chart, board or character profile in sight…

  • May 20, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I love it!

    And I knew it! You have described exactly what I got through every time – um – without the in depth interviews. I KNOWWW I’m a pantser, don’t need a 12 step program to convince me.

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