I think that all pantsers have this fear inside of them that making a plot will box them in when they try to write their story, limiting their creativity. That fear keeps them from trying to outlining. They want to be creative, and in their eyes, having a plot stops that. If you don't know, I actually used to be a pretty hardcore pantser. I don't think it shows very much anymore, but that used to be the only way I wrote. Some of those leftover fears from my time as a panster still lurk in the back of my mind, though. (Also, WordPress keep trying to autocorrect me whenever I write 'pantser' into 'panther'. 😑) However, as a person who now refuses to walk into any book without at least some semblance of a plot, those fears have taken on a different form in me: the idea that, while I'm plotting, maybe I'm plotting too much. I need creative freedom to go meandering down whatever paths happen to pop up along my way, and if my plans have to be followed exactly, then I can't do that. So how far am I really willing to go with my outlines?
I've presented a mix of why you should do things and how you can do the aforementioned things throughout this series: it's like a smoothie of concepts and actionable tips. 😆 But today's post is going to be some of both. We're looking at a point in the process where you are working most closely with your heart: figuring out what will happen during a story. Aka brainstorming. We'll look at some specific applications based on what I've taught you throughout this series, as well as some very actionable and concrete tips. Let's get right into it. 😎
If you've been around my blog for a while, you'll know that last year I struggled with my own writing process. I finally realized the missing piece in it was joy. I've now made that a top priority in my writing, and in this series, I made it the subject of the first couple posts as well. As I worked my way through experimental manuscripts, testing to see what worked for me, I kept off-handedly promising writers that I would eventually do a post all of its own on the writing process. And, finally... here it is. This has been a year in coming.
The further along you get on your writing journey, the more knowledge and experience you gather. And along with that comes your own unique perspective, lessons, knowledge, and needs. What one writer needs to do during the writing process id different from another. Which means as you go along with your writing, you actually become above the idea of 'rules'. You can end, break, and completely throw them out as you please. Which is why you really shouldn't even be reading this blog. But don't go unsubscribe! Because, at the same time, you should be reading this blog. Let me explain.
The year 2021 is upon us. After a pretty rocky start to the decade... *looks pointedly at the corona virus* ...I think all of us are ready for a fresh start. Usually, I kind of make fun a little of the way people start the new year with a flurry of resolutions to do new things and better themselves. But I thought that, after the craziness of the past year, many people would look at their lives with a fresh perspective. Time is short, and sometimes crazy viruses try to cut it even shorter. With these morbid thoughts around to spur people on, they might finally find the motivation to start that book they've been dreaming about for years. Combine that with the new year and buckets of resolutions, and you've got people deciding to finally write their book! And that's where this post comes in! With new writers beginning, I thought that they would need some assistance. So, I'm doing a post on one of the earliest steps of writing to help them out a bit: brainstorming.
Have you ever gotten super distracted by Pinterest when you were supposed to be writing? *raises hand* Pinterest - and any social media, for that matter - can be extremely distracting when you're trying to write a story. It's so easy to just switch to it instead if we're struggling even just slightly with trying to get the words down. But what if I told you that - outside of your writing time - Pinterest is actually a pretty great thing for writers to have?
In case you didn't know, I'm an introvert. It's not that I hate being around people, exactly; in fact, I quite enjoy some specific people's company. But after being around them for a while, I can get very drained. I'm pretty lucky, in that I'm actually an online homeschooler. I get to go to activities, like sports, but I don't have to be physically around people and talk to them all day. Even though I'm around my own family all the time, I'm not talking to them 24/7, and that allows me to be a rather pleasant person when I do interact with them (in my oh-so-humble opinion 😝) The fact that I'm an introvert kind of shines through my writing. Looking back over most of my more recent projects, I've found that a lot of my characters are actually introverted. That's probably because they come out of my brain, and that's just the easiest thing for me to write as I'm already one. So, when my sister, Mary, proposed that we write posts on writing introverted and extroverted characters - the personality types that each of us are - I thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. Make sure you check out her blog, Wild Writing Dreams, here, and read her post on writing extroverts, since that's a subject all of its own!
Have you ever gone to work on a new idea and then, when you go to write it down, you start feeling almost suffocated? Writing your ideas down somehow feels like you're setting all of it in stone, and you can no longer think of anything else. But you still feel like things are missing, and there are gaps in the plot line. I've done that before. I've even waved it off before, just pushing through the outlining process and trying to ignore the persisting feeling in my gut that I was still missing pieces to my story. (that's not a good thing to do, by the way; don't copy me 😂) But something I quickly pinpointed was how I even ended up in that place of mental suffocation and pushing through: a vital first step that I'd missed.
In my last post on making the problems in a story personal to a character (which is *cough* totally awesome *cOuGh* and you should check it out *wheeze*) I mentioned that I was going to do a post on the Inciting Incident. Not that long later, I had a conversation with my sister Mary that made me very glad I was going to post on the subject. We both are working on outlining new stories, and we started talking about the Inciting Incident, which was really confusing both of us for some reason. What exactly is the Inciting Incident supposed to be? Is that when the character gets kicked out of their Normal World? And are they even supposed to accept it?
Have you ever read a story where the main character goes on a long and arduous journey to defeat the villain, but by the end, you find you have a complaint: "But why?" Why does the main character even have to fight the villain? Because they're bad? Why do they care? The problem with those … Continue reading Character Problems: Not Making things Personal from Day 1