Okay - so the pig's got nothing to do with this blog but I thought it might fool you all into reading on.
Iím in the middle (actually Ďmiddleí is probably exaggerating but I have started) plotting books 4, 5 and 6 of my Bloodhunter series. So I thought Iíd ramble a little about plotting today.
Iím going to start this post with a quote from Stephen Kingís excellent book, On Writing Ė A Memoir of the Craft, which is one of my favorite writing books. So here goes:
ďPlot is, I think, the good writerís last resort and the dullardís first choice. The story that results is apt to feel artificial and labored.Ē
Now after that damning condemnation of plotting, I going to have to admit somethingóIím a plotter. There Iíve said it. Iím a plotter, and Iím proud.
Well, maybe not proud. The truth is, I always wanted to be a pantseróone of those people who just sit down, start writing, and fabulous stories tumble from their minds onto the keyboard, fully formed. But Iím not.
Iíve been writing for a few years now, and Iíve tried a lot of different methods. I probably started out doing a hybrid of the two, a bit of plotting, then a bit of pantsing. Iíd usually begin with some characters and a starting incident, and Iíd know where I wanted to end up (I write romance so the happy ever after is a given). In between, Iíd move toward the conclusion, sometimes with purpose, sometimes weaving around as though Iíd drunk way too much red wine (which might actually have been the case), but Iíd get there in the end.
Then I read Stephen King, and I thoughtóI donít want to be a dullard. Letís go for this. I had a couple of characters, and I knew they had to fall in love, but other than that, I had no clue. I started writing, and soon found myself stuck in the middle, unable to see how to get to the end without totally rewriting what I had done so far. Which I did. Numerous times.
So for my next story, I decided to embrace my dullardness. And I plotted. Not just the beginning and the end, but the middle as well. I did character interviews, and a scene by scene breakdown of the whole book. And I enjoyed it. Not only that, but I enjoyed writing the first draft as wellóit just whizzed out of my fingertips. I found I could concentrate on the characters reactions and emotions during the scenes rather than on what they were actually doing and why.
I now like to think I do my pantsing during the plotting process. Thatís the time when let my imagination run free and spend just about every waking moment askingówhat if? I go riding, and Iíll be asking Gencianna (my horse), what if people could live forever? Or Iíll be grooming the pig and asking her (there - I knew I could get Piggles into this blog somewhere!) I know weíre plotting a sci-fi, but what if the pilot of the space ship is actually a vampire? OrÖ
I believe everybody has to find the way that works best for them. Only by trying different methods are you going to do that. Donít ever believe just because someone tells you ďthatís the way things should be doneĒ that you have to follow them blindly (even if that person is Stephen King).
So what are you -† plotter, pantser, or maybe a unique hybrid of both?