I have a confession to make…
Honestly, I have multitudes.
I’d like to think none of them are groundbreaking and that almost all writers do these things. So today’s post probably won’t shock you. Or even remotely alarm you. I’d gather you probably won’t even raise an eyebrow.
Nevertheless, here are my main writing process confessions…
I’m a Pantser
Okay… half pantser….
For the uninitiated, a pantser is the opposite of a plotter. Some writers plan their book and story to a tee before writing it, ie plotter. Others just sit down and start writing without a plan. These are pantsers.
I’ll identify mostly as a pantser. I just sit down to start writing and see which direction the story goes. But I really wish I could be a plotter. At least with plotting, you know if you’re going off track from your end goal.
So I do a bit of both, depending on what I am writing. For the NYC Midnight challenges, I tend to have a story idea and then I just start writing. For books, I plan my characters and settings, etc. I even give myself an end-goal for each chapter. Like I might write a miniature outline like this:
Chapter 1 – Introduce Shannon at birth, explain her childhood to now.
Chapter 2 – Leave for summer camp
Chapter 3 – Ghost stories and baseball.
Then I pants the crap out of those chapters when I start writing. If I get an idea outside of my actual writing time, I write it down. But I also take stock in what Stephen King says about notebooks. He doesn’t keep one, as he believes if he forgets an idea, then obviously it wasn’t a good enough idea. I use this for story ideas now, but for current works, I ignore that rule. That idea I get as I lay my head on the pillow can be as good or better than the one I have when sitting in front of the computer screen.
Nevertheless, my plan for NaNoWriMo is no different, and though I’m planning the shit out of all of my book, there is still a high amoung of pantsing I’ll be doing.
I’m a research junkie
I’m fairly certain that I probably have te NSA watching my search history. When I was writing my Round 1 Flash Fiction Challenge this year, I had to look up images of rifles to explain to me what all the bits were. Then I had to research if putting a canister of lighter fluid on fire would result in a bomb. All in the span of 2 hours. I got the answers I was after, but the entire time I was a little worried what might happen.
Nevertheless, the two searches above helped me in my story… for each one individual line about it. I research so much stuff for my stories, and then I either don’t use it or use a very small amount for it.
When I was writing my brewery ghost story for round 2 of the challenge, I watched 3 videos on how beer was made. It was super interesting, and I gleaned a lot of information from it. buuuttt… I only mentioned two elements in the thousand-word story. Lauter tuns and hop plants. Hours of research to use words I had heard before, but didn’t really know what they were.
This doesn’t count the untold hours spent on Wikipedia and Google looking up stuff that I actually never use.
None of this should be a shock. I’m pretty sure this chart captures exactly what I’m talking about. Writers automatically thirst for knowledge, and the internet has given us the ability to learn a lot in a short period of time.
I’m guilty of writer’s ADD
I really wish I wasn’t. I constantly have a dozen stories in my head that I have either began writing or began the planning process. Other than my young mystics, that have 4 books circling my mind, I have a high fantasy book that I have been developing for almost 15 years now. It’s filled with fantastical creatures on a quest to stop the evil Malucz from destroying the world, etc etc. It’s more of a children’s book that will turn young adult just because I have a tendency towards dark themes.
I also have 5 stories that I want to write, but just haven’t had time to. And then I have a scifi/dystopian novel that I have been kicking around for the past 5 years.
The problem is that all the time I sit down to write one story and another starts getting written instead. I’ve gotten much better at it recently, but I have a serious case of “I’m writing a story which…”itis. And every time I talk about one, excitement builds up to get it done.
I guess the good thing about this is the fact that I won’t be running out of ideas any time soon. 😉
There are probably heaps more, but these three are the biggest. 4 days to go and only 3 more blogs after this. I can see the finish line! Hooray! 😀