Twenty-Thousand Words Richer with Jennifer St George


 Jennifer St George talks about the difference between Plotting & Pantsing.

Twenty-Thousand Words Richer

 

When I first started writing novels, I had no idea how to go about it. I had a germ of an idea and I just wrote the book from beginning to end. Isn’t that what everyone did? I discovered at a Romance Writers of Australia conference that I was a pantser, as opposed to a plotter. Authors were a mix of pantsers, plotters or something in-between or even something else all together.

 

Hmmm, that plotting sounded good.


 

I’m such a planner in real life (as opposed to my fictional life) that diving into the story and hoping for the best never really felt right.  Also, the fact that I threw out about twenty thousand words on each manuscript certainly felt wrong, wrong, wrong. Especially as I’d trained as a management consultant where efficiency is close to godliness.

 

So, I began researching how to plot a novel. I read lots of books and I attended lots of seminars and workshops. My ‘ah ha’ moment came when I read First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S Wiesner. This book whipped my plotting brain into shape. I now plot every aspect of my story before I start writing using the 30-day model outlined in Wiesner’s book. I find some of the exercises a little painful to complete, but as I’m writing the exercises invariably add value somewhere in the novel.

 

Probably the most useful aspect of Wiesner’s book was applying her story threads technique. That is, identifying story threads and mentally following them throughout the plot outline. This technique definitely helped reduce my editing time and made me much more productive.

 

The formatted outline capsules are brilliant for sketching out the story. These brief scene summaries helped me plot scene by scene.

 

The only thing I miss about using this approach is I know what happens in the end, before I write the book. But I believe the quality, depth and efficiency of my writing has been greatly improved.

 

So if you’re a pantser and it’s not working, this might be an approach that would help you too. Happy writing!

 

 

 

The Billionaire’s Pursuit of Love

When Sarah Walker's beloved wildlife sanctuary is threatened with closure, she heads for London and goes straight to the top to find out why. But the man responsible is the one man she's never forgotten, and the only person who can destroy all her happiness.


Billionaire CEO Blake Huntington-Fiennes can't believe that the girl he's spent years searching for has just marched into his boardroom. And this time, he's willing to resort to any means necessary to keep her. But Sarah has a secret she must protect at all costs or risk losing something even more precious than the sanctuary…

 

Find Jennifer at:

 





 





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24 comments:

  1. A little plotting is a very good thing, Jen. Thanks for this reminder

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  2. It completely changed my way of writing - so much for the better!

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  3. Hi Jen,

    Thanks for sharing how your writing process has evolved. You must be thrilled at saving 20,000 words:)
    Congratulations on your new release. Can't wait to read The Billionaire's Pursuit Of Love.

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    1. Thanks, Allison.

      I reckon my process will continue to evolve. I'm currently reading Stephen King's book On Writing. There's lots of good stuff in it too.

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  4. Good article :)

    BTW - love that pic of you :)

    I'm currently 70% through "Billionaire" and am loving it - well done!!!!

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    1. Thanks Joanne. Thrilled you are enjoying Billionaire in its final form. Your feedback in the beginning was invaluable!

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  5. I'm a big planner already but this sounds interesting.

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  6. Good luck with your book, Jennifer. I wish you much success. I just checked for it on Amazon, but it says it isn't available for purchase yet. Guess I'll have to check back later.

    I'll have to check for Wiesner's book, too. Anything that can possibly speed up my approach to writing sounds like a great investment.

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  7. Which country are you in, Susan? I'll get Penguin to check it out.

    I certainly found Wiesner's book invaluable.

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  8. I find plotting an outline first helps - even if I decide not to stick to it.

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    1. I'm with you, Patsy. I find plotting provides some structure even if it changes!

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  9. I'm glad you found a method that works for you! I wish I could, but I still like my pantsting :)

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  10. I don't think it matters what your process is as long as it works, Meradeth. I do miss some aspects of pantsting!!

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  11. So great to learn more about Jennifer. It was interesting to learn about how she went from a pantser to a plotter. :) I plot out a lot, but leave some wiggle room for the pantsing that is sure to take place. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. That's sounds like a perfect approach, Jess. I also leave some wiggle room!

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  12. Great post. I'm a reformed pantser who often backslides. My better novels are the plotted variety, but the pantsed novels were much more fun (and frustrating too, I guess).

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    1. I think that must be true of me too, Milo. The first novel I plotted - The Convenient Bride - was the book that got picked up for publication.

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  13. I used to be a pantser and then I found the joys of plotting.

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  14. My brain really REALLY doesn't like to plot in advance. I tend to know the beginning and the end but the middle is the mystery. I'm working on trying to plot more so I'll have to check out that book! :)

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  15. I was exactly the same, Jemi. I hope the book helps with plotting.

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