18 May 2011

Pants be Gone!!!

Hart, here... You know how I can't abide pants, right? But for some reason on the latest book I've been trying to write, I keep finding myself pantsing... it's not the PLAN... I will plot a little way out... maybe it is that I got burned on my last Cozy Mystery by having the killer too obvious in the end and having to scramble to rewrite... But you know what?

Pantsless source
Me and Pants cannot successfully coexist. This is taking me longer than any book since... the third in my trilogy where I had a lot of loose ends to tie up... Sure, I am just closing in on month three, but I'm a person who has gotten used to the rapid first draft to be followed by careful reworking... it's been working for me... WHY DID I TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

I'll tell you why... I had vague plans... I had suspects and motives and clues... but the fact of the matter is, this second in a series thing has had me a little bit stumped... I spent too much time on set-up and not enough on character development because... you know... I developed the characters in the LAST book... but this needs to stand alone, so then I dived in to back fill so readers would KNOW the characters, and this or that idea seemed the best way, and then that throws a monkey wrench in the other plans... it's been a MESS. If I get done by the end of May (in time for BuNoWriMo) it will be a miracle... and YES that gives me 4 months to rewrite, but it TAKES me 4 months to rewrite...
designed by the amazing Joris Ammerlaan

Now I know some of you don't object to pants nearly as much as I do, for whatever baffling reason. And I know some writers ADORE series... and on some level I get it—you don't have to keep starting from scratch... But... I sort of LIKE starting from scratch... beginnings really do it for me... if I could write NOTHING BUT beginnings, I would be a happy camper. (oh, I get off on an occasional ending, too, but all that middle crap is for the birds)

But I am not claiming you are WRONG for liking those wacky things you like... Have atter... I figure if we all wrote the same way, our books would end up more similar and THAT would be BAD...

What I DO want to say though (HA! You KNEW there had to be a point, didn't you?) Is this:

Pay attention when you write.

What works?

What creates trouble?

Do you like to write FAST, or more meticulously?
Do you need to write on a schedule, or as the whim hits you? (whim warning whim warning whim warning*)
Do you have rituals that make it flow? What are they?
Strategies for 'blocks' (say it with me POWER WALK, though getting naked and wet is good, too.)

And when you determine what works and what doesn't, STICK WITH IT. You can experiment a little, but preferably, like a good scientist, only with one component at a time. If you mess with too much, you don't know what is messing with YOU.

So do you know your rhythm? What works for you? Are you a pantser or a planner? A plodder or a speed demon? Have you found your writing zen? SHARE!

*If you are a whimmer, make sure you mean stolen moments frequently... like pockets you can steal but still write daily, or at least several times a week—those of you waiting for 'inspiration' are fooling yourself. Not all writing is inspired, and no book gets done if you think it has to be. A writer's best friend, without fail, is perseverance. (a word screaming for another r, don't you think... per SEV erence is like cutting off ance ance... per SER verence like... SERVES you... *sigh*) *cough* Just call that digression my religious devotional...

[Note: I am flying all morning and probably not online all day (conference wireless won't start up until Thursday and Stacy has threatened that I will be drinking tequila and dancing on tables all day Wednesday). I apologize--I am heading to a conference. I will read ALL comments when I can, and hope my other Burrowers might keep an eye...]


Jan Morrison said...

I'm totally a pantser. I cannot abide knowing anything. And I'm working on my second Kitty McDonald book so I know of what you speak! I think the main point is to be true to your own style. I also read somewhere recently from an author, that the stuff she wrote with great pains and struggles was no less good than the stuff that poured out of her in an intuititive surge. So there. I find that quite helpful!

Naina Gupta said...

I sort of write on a whim. This does also mean carrying a notebook with me wherever I go and writing little phrases that pop into my head. That will trigger me to write when I get home.
When I am at home I always make sure that I write at least something so my day is not wasted.

Shaharizan Perez said...

I am a pantser also. I would love to shed them and just be me but unfortunately I tend to restrict myself. *sighs*

My writing has been more academic than for the pleasure of writing. Perhaps the summer. . .

ViolaNut said...

I feel a strange need to sing "I Wear No Pants". Wonder why. *snort*

Hart Johnson said...

Jan, that is definitely encouraging! And I think I've seen that's true... I've had easier and harder stuff to get out there, and in the end, I think, there is a pacing difference, but while the slow to write needs to increase speed, the fast to write needs to slow down...

Naina, that carrying a notebook think is smart! I think it sounds like you have a good plan.

Chary-you restrict yourself from planning? What sort of nut are you! *smooches*

Leanne *snort*

Laura said...

Panster! Panster! Panster!
I have spent too long on the whim thing - got bit on the behind, so that's why I'm looking forward to a completely unplanned crazy ride in june...
when I will write? Not a clue (EEK!)