Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pantser to Planner

I was, and still am partly, a pantser. That's a term I only discovered this year or last, but it fits.

It wasn't working though. I was writing, but there was nothing really going on. I knew there wasn't really a goal, then I figured one out. Vaguely. I didn't realize how vague until I broke down and finally searched for how to outline.

On Pinterest, I would get tons of suggested pins about outlining or planning and I ignored them because I've done well so far. (I haven't.) It might even be that the lack of discipline stems from being unprepared when the inspiration strikes and I just start typing until nothing else comes to me. There is a place for that step... but I didn't realize that until I finally did my search.

I found a few articles and I will explain my initial thoughts on how I plan to combine and make use of these suggestions. I didn't make note of who the ideas came from, but I'll do a quick reopen of tabs and provide links of the sites where I found the articles.

https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/ - Really loved this one. It goes well with how my brain works. I tend to get a big general idea first, and this helps expand while still narrowing things down in a way I can plan what I want to write with little actual structure.
https://jerryjenkins.com/ - Basically this goes along with the first one, in that, always carry a notebook. And something to refer to when you sit down to make the design documents. (I also like to hoard most of my rejected ideas along with all my self-proclaimed brilliant ones.) Also some good tips on villains. I don't agree with most of his methods. I do believe writer's block is a thing. However, for some people, he may have some good tips, but my problem isn't setting up a place to write or finding time, etc. Snowflake Guy is a lot more lenient with his take it or leave it. (Not sure if Mr. Jenkins is "strict" about his methods, but even if he is, you can take some, leave some, etc.)
http://ken-mcconnell.com/ - Mostly just used this for technical tips. I've been using draftin.com because it's simple and fast to load. I may still use it in some instances, but I think I need to start putting it in an actual word processing document and Google Docs is the answer for me.

I could have kept looking, but the Snowflake Guy really got me in my sweet spot. I still had the other tabs opened to articles from the other two, but I just scanned them at that point.

Now how do I use this information in my own recipe for no more writer's block?

Well, for one, I already know that when it comes to actual writing, I do better at a keyboard. For jotting notes and ideas, I prefer to handwrite. The fabulous thing about Snowflake is jotting notes and starting small. He even specifically says it could take weeks in this process. I didn't realize I had pressured myself with a vague (but urgent) timeline. This is giving me permission to take a notebook to a coffee shop, chill and think, writing only when something comes to mind to write. Which, helps with that too. He gives a structure. Step by step.

I have an idea for the story. It's been there many months. A year. I just remembered I actually started it for NaNoWriMo last year. I think. Um, anyway. The other day I completely deleted (but it's in draft so I know it's not gone forever and my hoarder muse is happy) and started over. I actually changed the whole backstory for one character. Deleted some minor characters.

When I decided to delete some of the characters, somehow it was more comforting to realize I was basically like that jagged glowing line thing that erased Rory from history. I'm like the Doctor. I'm the only one who will ever know they existed...

I read the bit about starting with one sentence, "I was like, 'I have that!'" Except I got stuck at, "War for Home is about two people who..." and I pushed out "try to"... and realized how badly I needed to do this.

So step one is going to hang out at coffee shops and let my mind wander about how to finish that sentence. It might take a long time. That's ok. That sentence is the building block.

After that there's expanding and character work ups and then scene worksheet. I'm going to chill. I'm not on a deadline and I know I can't do anything without the first sentence, so it's ok to take as much time as needed. Even if I come up with other sentences for stories in the meantime. Even if I end up writing other stories and finishing them before I get that sentence.

This story is inside of me begging to be let out. But without conflict, there is no story. I LOVE traumatizing characters when I roleplay, so why is it so hard when writing an actual non-collaborative story? I did it before. Or did it? Maybe that's why none of them were ever finished.

Even the one that was the furthest I've ever gotten, even came to an end, but still felt... empty.

I know I am capable of very sick villians, and pretty graphic situations. I need to make these characters braver than I am. They will go out and risk themselves.

So, my causes for writer's block:
  • Lack of preparation (easy fix)
  • Fear (it's spooky season, so now's a good time to face it)





In other news, I've decided teeth are weird.





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