In the past, I’ve definitely been a pantser, letting the magic flow from my head to my fingertips and onto the screen but lately I’ve been wondering if maybe plotters have it right.
I’ve always found it very difficult to create outlines, whether they were for an English Lit essay or my Uni dissertation, so I’ve always just sat down at my laptop and waited for the story to come. However, I recently had to provide outlines for a series of short stories a ghostwriting client wanted and I instantly panicked. Errrrr, outlines? What the heck?
So, I sat down and planned out the stories and, yes the outlines were pretty detailed because I can’t just write bare bones but actually, when I came to write the first story, it was so easy! All the hard work had essentially been done and I wasn’t staring at the screen for huge chunks of time, wondering what the hell was going to come next. There was no procrastination, okay very little procrastination, no wandering off to check my emails or Twitter or anything at all on the internet, no making endless cups of tea or eating half a packet of biscuits to pass the empty time whilst I desperately thought of something for my characters to do next. In short, it was like a little epiphany.
Since I’m half way through pantsering my second book, I think I might research how other writers plot their books out and try some methods for the second half of it. And I’m going to give it a go on two partly written first drafts of other books I have languishing on my laptop. I love the characters in these two abandoned books but just don’t know where to take them next and, if the plotting helps, I’ll have two more books ready to go by the end of the year (or at least at the second draft stage).