Monday, April 21, 2014

How I became a Plotter: Surprises

The main complaint/argument/slap fight I see between pantsers and plotters seems to be: "Plotting is too formulaic and there are no surprises. I want to go on the journey and learn and grow and experience everything alongside my character."

As a former pantser I admit that this sounded a bit like me. While I have thoroughly enjoyed the planning and strategy and list making that comes with becoming a plotter (see intro post for my OCD tendancies), I also love experiencing a good story and feeling like what I am creating is alive and has a mind of it's own and I have to wrangle it, and tame it, and make it mine!!

Oo, the power got to me there for a minute.

Well, I want to finally and absolutely debunk this myth.

While sticky note plotting act three I had a fairly clear vision of what my MC was going to do. The choice he was going to make was solid and seemed to be the only choice available, really. As I picked up the sticky note to write down some of the details of this choice...I wrote something completely different! Something I had never even considered! Something that made everything So-Much-Cooler, and I got that tingly feeling writer's get* when their story really comes to life for the first time.

So, myth DEBUNKED. And I would also like to say that, as a pantser, if this epiphany had occurred in the third act -when I was actually writing - it would have been a serious pain in the hiney. Rather than having to rewrite earlier scenes so they would match up with my new epiphany, here was my method:

Write new sticky note.
Unstick old sticky note.
Throw in garbage.

Yep, plotting makes epiphanies easier. I'm putting that on a t-shirt.

*I'm not the only one, right?

Next Time: Crappy First Drafts
Previous Post: Getting Unstuck

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