Plotting. It can be scary. There’s so many ways to do it. So many ways it can go right. So many ways it can go wrong. If you're not experienced with it, then it can be intimidating.
Every book I’ve written has, what I call, the 30k curse. I would get a concept, flesh out my characters, and roll with it. At that point the excitement had swelled and the urge to write was strong as hell. So I put fingers to keys to see where the words took me.
The 30K curse became tedious and for me at least, a waste of precious time. When we aren't full time writers, but are striving to be, we may only have a certain amount of time in our day to write. So 30k in, I've wasted a week or more worth of writing time just to start over again.
Up until four months ago I was a total pantser. Complete advocate for it. Now, I’ve become a plotter with a dash of pants. So a plottser if you will. What does that mean exactly?
I don’t outline every little detail. That’s too much for me, plus despite having a clear basis, things ultimately do change. For me, having my scenes laid out, with the main point of that is scene keeps me focused. It lets me have the full view of my story to make sure that from beginning to end, the details I want to be there are actually there. It also lets me realize if something isn't working and I need to go back to change it.
Damn. It's hard sometimes. The urge to just start writing tries to take over, but I know if I don't plot first, that 30k curse will come back and bite me--and not in the fun, sexy way mmkay.
A phyiscal board becomes tedious--at least for me--fast.
Scrivener is my favorite writing program, for many reasons. One of them, is the bulletin board with index cards. This acts as my virtual plot chart. I know a lot of people like hands on, but sticky notes and push pins become tedious for me and I wind up losing half of them anyway. Especially since I may decide a scene should come earlier than another. So instead of tacking and retacking, I can click a tab and go over to my bulletin board, see what’s next or what I may need to add and take away before clicking right back to my document.
No matter anyones plotting style, it’s not an easy transition from just winging it. Sitting down and forcing myself to think through the story made me want to pull my hair out. The urge to write is always there, more so as I flesh out the story. It’s also not for everyone, but the more deadlines that come, the more it might be beneficial to at least have the bare bones of a story.
With any luck, this transition will keep me from having the 30k curse at the forefront of my manuscript.
What about you guys? What's your plotting style? Did your originally pants? Ooh were you a plotter who became a pantser? That's a story I'd love to hear!