Posted in Writing

Confessions of a Recovering Pantser

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and I finally finished a scene I’ve been working on. I’m getting closer to the end of my story. It’s been hard trying to balance writing, work, and family, but I’m managing, but enough about that.

Today I want to talk about writing. I haven’t spoken about it in a long time because I’ve been busy trying to get my story down. It’s a huge undertaking to write a novel. You have to get the characters down and then the setting and plot. I used to write by the seat of my pants, but this last story I plotted out, and even though it takes longer by plotting, I do find my story is better, and there is less editing. This story has taken me a couple of years to write. I’ve written it over a couple of times and it’s better each time because practice makes perfect, right?

Photo on VisualHunt

Being a Pantser, affords the writer a lot of freedom. Plotting, I’ve found, makes you rein in that wildness inside yourself and forces you to move in a direction. Sometimes, I miss my pantsing style. It was so free and easy, but when I look at my story after plotting it out and I realize it is the way to go.

So, for me to master the art of plotting, I had to study it first. So, I purchased the craft book, “Story Engineering,” by Larry Brooks. I recommend it to all of you aspiring writers out there. It takes you step by step through the plotting process and makes sense of your story.  I wish I had read this before I started writing, but live and learn, right?

 

 

The vast majority of writers begin the storytelling process with only a partial understanding where to begin. Some labor their entire lives without ever learning that successful stories are as dependent upon good engineering as they are artistry. But the truth is, unless you are master of the form, function and criteria of successful storytelling, sitting down and pounding out a first draft without planning is an ineffective way to begin.

Story Engineering starts with the criteria and the architecture of storytelling, the engineering and design of a story–and uses it as the basis for narrative. The greatest potential of any story is found in the way six specific aspects of storytelling combine and empower each other on the page. When rendered artfully, they become a sum in excess of their parts.

You’ll learn to wrap your head around the big pictures of storytelling at a professional level through a new approach that shows how to combine these six core competencies which include:

• Four elemental competencies of concept, character, theme, and story structure (plot)
• Two executional competencies of scene construction and writing voice

The true magic of storytelling happens when these six core competencies work together in perfect harmony. And the best part? Anyone can do

 

I also purchased Steven King’s book, “On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft.” This book encouraged me to keep writing. You need to write as often as possible. You need to practice, practice, practice.  That’s what I took away from his book. He gives practical advice in his memoir and gives me hope that I may eventually reach that New York Bestselling Author status I’m striving for.

 

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

So, there you have it, two craft books I’d recommend. What craft books have made an impact on your writing? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Slice of LIfe, Writing

Slice of Life: A Glimpse of the Writing Life

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. Spring break was last week, so I got a quite a bit of writing done. I feel pretty good about my WIP that I finished awhile back. I decided to have another Beta Reader read it and while she read it, I thought of some changes that would make the story stronger. I’m happy to say I’m almost done with the changes and I’m feeling pretty good about them.

While I was driving my kids to the gymnastics place over break, I thought of another idea. I always seem to get them when I can’t write them down. Isn’t that the way it always is? I mulled it over while I watched my little Ninja fly along the gym floor. It’s a good one, but I’ll have to put it on my list. I’ve got three stories going and two new ideas. We’ll see if I can get them all done. Sigh. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed to say the least.

Photo credit: joiseyshowaa via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

But I love writing. It’s such an awesome feeling when the story comes together. I’m sure you know what I mean. 🙂 It’s such a stress reliever for me. However, I’ve noticed that my writing is taking up all my free time. I could sit in my pajamas all day and pound away at my keyboard, but that isn’t practical.

I work around my kids’ schedule and sometimes it’s hard to fit in any writing time. However, I try. I’ve set a goal for at least 1000 words a day. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when you only have an hour to yourself, sometimes that’s all you can do. I figure in fifty days, I’ll have a fifty thousand word novel written. Of course, that’s just the rough draft. Once that’s done, that’s when the real work begins.

The editing takes me the longest because I’m a pantser and there’s a lot of editing when you’re a pantser. But I can’t seem to follow an outline. It takes the wind out of my sails. I like to start a story and let the characters take control. It’s fun to see what they’ll do or what situations they’ll get themselves in.

Photo credit: Harald Groven via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

How do you like to write? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, it’s just a quick glimpse into a writer’s life. I hope you enjoyed it. To read some other Slice of Lifer’s Posts, click here.