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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Plantzer Checking In....


No, that is NOT a typo. I both Plot and Pantz; hence my word 'Plantz'.

When I first began writing, I'd start with a basic idea and write whatever the muse/characters whispered in my brain. My version of childhood fairy tales, English assignments, my year-long foray into Sci-Fi followed.

I soon branched into my alter-ego's series and soon discovered the issues dealing with a time-span of five years, plus the lives of six characters. Add to this confusion the fact I wrote the first four books out of order, and suddenly I had a severely mixed-up timeline. I needed a calendar of events.

On a sheet of paper (okay; four sheets!) I listed a vague, month by month outline of what issues each character was facing. Nothing specific; just a one line phrase. For example:
Aug 1985:
E: Feeling hostile about alcohol counseling
A: Matt comes home; only sees her three times in 2 week period
K: Meets Kyle
G: Nothing yet
C: Back solidly with Bryan
S: Nothing yet

I wrote Wild at Heart and my NaNo project, Teacher's Pet, off the top of my head. I let the characters lead me.

Appetite For Desire and All She Ever Wanted were inspired by a cooking muse (can you tell I was watching waaaaay too much Food Network in 2008, lol?) and started with snippets of conversations and some of my favorite recipes. I knew how each would end; what I didn't know was HOW they would get from sexual tension to HEA.

Three years ago, I began six wips with nothing more than a slight character sketch. Guess what? They all stalled out on Ch 2, because I didn't have a clue where they were going and the characters refused to talk to me.

Edits and marketing for ASEW took over; writing took a back seat.

Off The Clock was a nice surprise, as was the morning a disgruntled worker demanded I write down his words. Model Behavior came to me during an insomniatic night (insomniac??), fully formed: The beginning, Chapters 2-5, and the ending. But before I could finish Ch 3, Class Reunion took over. I knew exactly where the plot was heading, but the details were fuzzy until they showed up at my fingertips. So is it considered to be 'plotted out'? I don't think so, since I didn't know everything my characters would do in order to get to the HEA.   And now I'm having the same issues with my 1st attempt at a paranormal.  The guidelines have been laid down; they have a week to fall in love or be forever separated.  But now the hero has me bogged down with his family issues.  I have no idea when my muse will return to sort it all out!  

Same for my Zombie story; a character literally threw me a curve ball and now I have to deal with a surprise twist in their relationship.  Why can't characters behave?  Because then the story would be too boring and predictable?  Geez.....

Detailed outline= Plotter
Vague idea= Pantzer

Vague outline+ Vague idea= Plantzer

That's my story and I'm sticking to it:)

11 comments:

Amber Skyze said...

I guess I'm a Plantzer too. :)

Tina Donahue said...

I'm a plotter - can't write by the seat of my pants. My outlines are several hundred pages long - mainly because of all the research in them on the characters' backgrounds and what not, including photos of what I think everything looks like so I can describe it well. It may sound like a lot of work; however, it makes the actual writing so much easier as I've basically written the story in the outline. The next draft is for polishing. :)

Molly Daniels said...

@Tina: (blinks) Several HUNDRED pages?? I tip my hat to you; I'd get bogged down and confused at that much research!

Paris said...

I usually start out with an idea that will carry me for about three or four chapters, usually to the inciting incident and then I have to sit down and figure out where I want everything to go but sometimes that doesn't work out either, lol!

Usually by the time I hit the mid-point I'll know if I'm on the right track and outline the rest. I try to get the important plot elements into the first draft and then polish the second. So far, it works for me:)

Harlie Reader said...

As newbie, I'm a pantzer. :)

Marika

Sandy said...

My big thing is to make a list of characters with descriptions, any quirks, vehicles they drive and all that kind of stuff. That's after I have a basic idea formed. I always know the beginning and the end. I'm definitely a Plantzer.

Tina, I could never write out hundreds of pages. Wow! You go girl. lol

Katalina Leon said...

I have to have a basic plot line so I have something solid to veer away from and return to.
XXOO Kat

jean hart stewart said...

I guess I'm a plantzer too. I get the firt few chapter down in a big hurry, and then sometimes get really stuck. Then I try to outline the rest of the book. Seems to be the only way I can write. But Tina, that long an outline leaves me struck dumb with admiration....

Ann Raina said...


I have an idea on my mind and play with it for days before writing down a short outline. I'm happy to have a muse to discuss my ideas and how I want the story to go. With a lot of coffee and cookies, we trim the plot, create the characters and find the special little things that a story needs to be entertaining, i.e. a tick the main character has.
Sometimes I write down two stories and work on each at a time, depending on ideas and my drive to write. :)
Have a productive weekend,
Ann Raina

Colette Saucier said...

Thank you so much for this! Now I know what I am - a plantzer! I wish I had coined the term so I could blog about it!
I have always gotten the idea for a plot and then outlined it, but then I create the characters and structure as I go along. I had never even heard the term "pantzer" until I went to an authors conference, and when I asked, they looked at me like I had a swastika carved in my forehead.
I don't judge other authors for being pantzers, but I have been derided often for outlining my plot!
From the reception of my novels, I must be doing something right!

Celtic Chick said...

I guess I do a little of both, too. I wish I could stick to an outline, but my stories always change. I'm kind of jealous of writers that can outline the whole story and know exactly what will happen. I have no idea until I start writing the story.

Kelley

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