"Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” — James Joyce, Ulysses
That's a fabulous quote! I feel like I did this a couple of weekends ago. I'm a pantser. For the last eight years, I've written anything and everything that surfaces from my back brain. (For more on how this works, check out this post--Back Brain Blender.) But (and this is a big BUT!) As I fulfill the submission request that touches on Five (5!) stories, I find myself having to organize the outflow. So I tackled the pile of paper that's accumulated over the years (what's not already in Scrivener) and sorted it into piles by story. This is the result. Now, I have to edit, type, and outline this mess to submit "an extensive outline of the first three books ("Laura Grace trilogy") and summary paragraphs of the next two." Oh, my aching head. My long journey has circled back to start and I'm wading in nose deep.
Pantser vs. Plotter (Outliner):
Alright, I know you non-writers are wondering what I mean by "pantser." It's not too hard of a concept once you know it's a term we writers use for those of us who write by the seat of our pants. We don't outline the entire story from the first. We don't worry that it won't come together in the end. The truth is there's no one way to write a book. I'm of the loosey-goosey persuasion. That doesn't mean that I don't have to stop and outline the story later. I do. But, it does mean that I don't make myself write in an uncomfortable fashion. Been there, done that back in my high school and college days. (Psst! I'll tell you a secret. I usually wrote that pesky required outline after the fact. ;-)
And now, there's a new term floating about: Plantser
A plantser is an author who combines planning and pantsing methods to prepare for their novel. Usually, people who claim to be this type of author enjoy how pantsing allows their creativity to strive more, however they plan some of it out so that it doesn't wander off into plotless ramblings that require intense revisions and rewrites when the draft is done. ~WikiWrimo
For what it's worth, I'm probably more of a plantser than pure pantser. I do have an idea of the entire story early on. Because of that, I find I have a goal line to cross and that allows me the freedom to write whatever and whenever along that path that I'm inspired to. I think worrying about what writing style you use is a bit of procrastination. Just do it! Whatever you method, don't stop. Write the story! Go, Writers, Go!
Great link about the hard truths of writing: Hard Truths Every Writer Should Know--Dana Elmendorf Speaking of journeys:
"Sure some authors make it look easy, but don’t be fooled. They walked that same long road just like the rest of us."
Next Week: The Book Pusher's Mini Book Reviews.