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: