Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A semi-pantser figures it out

It's the last day of 2014. I'm 50,000 words deep into my draft manuscript for Vortex. Seems like an appropriate time to pause and reflect.

What Vortex has taught me about my writing:

  • I'm not the type that can write the first draft from start to finish prior to doing any edits
  • Polished (read: edited) scenes/chapters increase my confidence in the new, subsequent ones I write
  • I'm a pantser, meaning I discover the story as I write it, but...
  • Deep into the story, I really want to know where it's going, so I do outline the parts to come
  • With outline in hand, I can't resist writing ahead--fleshing out upcoming scenes and vignettes--particularly the juicy or significant ones
  • Regarding those upcoming scenes, sometimes my exploratory drafts get tossed, unusable; sometimes it triggers me to retrofit earlier chapters I'd edited and felt were mostly baked
So this seems to be my natural writing style. Picture a chunk of virgin territory before you. Into one corner, your explorers probe. They find rich land and call in the settlers. The land is made productive and a thriving community develops. Then, it's time for more exploration, more settling. Sometimes, though, the explorers return to the established areas and cause upheaval, all in the name of the ultimate goal: total conquest. Eventually the entire territory is won over.

Which means I write like most people play the games Civilization or The Settlers of Catan. Amazing, eh?

No matter your own writing style, here's hoping your 2015 is supremely productive and richly rewarding.