I’ve written about plotting versus pantsing before–plotting a story as opposed to writing it by the seat of your pants–but this month has given me a new take on the whole issue.
At the end of January, I joined the Winter Writing Festival sponsored by the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog. It’s almost over (sadness), but if you’re a writer, you really should consider joining next year–it’s been transformative. At the same time, I’ve been taking a wonderful workshop on novellas by Catherine Chant which has given me a ton of ideas on plotting and structuring a book. I’ve also been reading Debra Dixon’s book on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. (Apparently I’ve been busy, now that I think about it!)
I’ve always been opposed to in-depth plotting of a book before I start writing, because, well, it’s boring! But I have also noticed that failing to do any plotting at all leads to a very bad book (for me, anyway). So I did a sort of hybrid I like to call plantsing, in the hopes that with just a little bit of plotting–a moderately detailed road map, I suppose–I could let my creativity run free and still stay on course.
Well, that didn’t really work either. I still got stuck in the middle of my book, and couldn’t get past it. Now maybe it is my lot in life always to get stuck in the middle, and if so I can accept that, but maybe I really need to get past my aversion to plotting. As an experiment, the novella I am starting in March will be plotted–beat sheet, character descriptions, GMC charts, maybe even a plot arc. Will it stifle my creativity and get stuck again, or will I breeze right through? Stay tuned…
How do you feel about plotting? Any methods that work well for you, or methods you’ve rejected?