Plodding away

Everything is still going ahead. Dark Reign is still being edited, so we’re on track there.

I have been writing other things, so I haven’t been alone but I thought I’d write in here about some of the things we do as writers.

Planning vs Pantsing vs Plantsing

So, you might have heard the term “pantsing”. You’ve probably heard the saying “flying (or driving) by the seat of their pants”. Well, pantsing is the same thing for writing. It means opening either a blank page in a notebook or computer, whichever the way you write, and putting words on the page.

Now, sometimes, as with me, those words come from a dream, which is where Dark Dimensions and Heart of Deception came from, sometimes it’s a prompt from a writing group and other times it’s just an idea either from television or from a picture. The point is, there’s nothing on the page to start with and you’re just laying words down.

This is the way I tend to write and I will write the first draft that way – because I believe it’s the characters telling me the story so that I can refine it in other drafts to tell you. But that’s for another post.

This can, however, be problematic – I will admit it. My main problem came up when I decided to explore one of my characters’ pasts. In Heart of Deception, Marek, the main character, is 25. While exploring his life between 20 and 25, I found that he’d been traumatised at the age of 22 and subjected to all 15 symptoms of emotional shock. Luckily, I had to pull Heart of Deception and Legacy of Risks from sales because of the crash of my publisher, so I have been able to rewrite scenes in those books to reflect the effect that trauma had on Marek.

For anyone interested, these stories may come out in a book of their own – sort of compiled events of Marek’s earlier adulthood.

Pantsing is an interesting way to write. It means that a story will continue for what seems a very long time before you get to the end. I know in Nanowrimo 2020 I wrote 25000 words this way in my paranormal story. Which I am now setting out ready for the second draft.

If you’re a planner rather than a pantser, then you will know your characters, setting, plot, subplots all before you start. Generally, a planner knows everything that’s going to happen in a story, right down to the twists, the supports, all the deaths are planned and everything is worked out before the first draft is even written.

You also have your characters right down – their goals, their childhood, their drives, their motivations, their education, their looks, how old they are, etc.

This can be a great way to write and you know exactly where your story is going with each word that lands on the page before you.

Now, plantsing is a mix of the two – I tend to be a little of a plantser – or I try to be. I love pantsing the first draft, but sometimes I tend to repeat information or I info dump. Thus, by planning the second draft, which is what I’m doing with my paranormal story, I can work out exactly what belongs in each chapter.

Also, by this stage, I know what my characters are like and I can write their goals, motivations, destinations, drives, everything that a character needs – even down to the clothes they wear and their looks.

So, that’s the three types of writing that I know. The knowledge I give to everyone here is – if you’re a pantser or a plantser, remember, if you explore a character’s earlier life in another piece of work, then you’ll need to check previously published works to see if you need to reflect those actions in the earlier life of the character.

My suggestion to anyone interested in writing a book? Go ahead – write it. As someone often says to me – someone out there needs that story in your head.

But if you want a “get rich quick” scheme, then don’t look at writing. With writing you have to build readers – and those readers include strangers as well as your friends. This has to be done before you even look at sales.

So, if you are driven to writing, like I am, then you’re in it for the long haul. It’s a long-term career for us and we love every minute of that career.

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