December 27th, 2006

Nomad - Ivy

Can a Pantser become a Plotter? Stay tuned...

So. As I think I said before, come January I intend to try the method Karen Wiesner lays out in her book First Draft in 30 Days. Until now I've shied away from outlines because they seemed such dry, lifeless things, just the skeleton of a story with none of the Good Bits. I always thought that if I knew how the story went, there'd be no reason for me to write it -- that having an outline would spoil all the fun and the wonder, and suck away my creative drive. I was an inveterate seat-of-the-pants writer -- a "pantser".

However, having just gone through a major revision of Knife using my earlier draft more as an outline than anything else, and not only enjoying the process (mostly) but feeling that the book is considerably better as a result of having that existing structure behind it, WHY DO I WRITE SUCH LONG SENTENCES WILL SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE ME STOP, where was I? Oh, yes --

Uh, anyway. Yeah. I rewrote the book. From the old draft. And it was really not that bad. It was actually nice not to have to worry about whether the plot would come together, or how. And even though my creative engine was driving along a track already laid, and I knew exactly where all the stations were, I still made discoveries along the way. My characters surprised me from time to time -- these people I've known for thirteen years, or thought I knew. And there was one bit, not present in any of the earlier drafts, that actually made me tear up -- me, who almost never cries at books, ended up crying over my own book.

So apparently it's not creatively stifling to have the plot and other major details sorted out in advance after all. And that means there's a chance that Wiesner's outlining method, or something similar, could work for me.

In the New Year, I hope to use this LJ as a progress journal as I work my way through the outline for, uh, either Wayfarer or Touching Indigo or both -- I still haven't decided yet. I'm not going to go into spoilery detail about what I'm writing, but I do want to keep a record of how well the First Draft method is working for me, and how I feel about the process.

In the meantime, completely unrelated to the above, you should all go and watch the sad, smelly saga of the exploding whale.