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Friday, August 12, 2011

Why Plot When You Can Pants?

Flying by the seat of one's pants can be scary.

PANTSED!    sorry, could not resist this one!

You would never consider going into a big meeting unprepared.  If you were asked to speak at a convention you wouldn't just wing it.  Calendar planning for many of us is crucial--if I just said "well, whatever happens today happens" and scheduling be damned nothing would ever get done.  People who run successful businesses, no matter how hip the environment, would not succeed without advance planning for all aspects of whatever it is they make/sell/service.

But when it comes to writing fiction, most of us just let it happen, without a ton of forethought, outlining, or other pre-meditation.

I used to brag that I was the Panster Queen.  I came up with the entire concept of The Tap Room, my Choose your Romance novel due out September 30 on a plane to Denver, opened up my laptop and just let it pour forth.  Granted, it was a serialized story on this very blog for a while until my publisher said, "Um, yeah, I want that, take it down."  I still like to think that the very best stories come to you fully formed, ready to simply be dictated from brain to paper (or in my case:  computer screen).

Lately, though as my back list grows and demands on my time increase from my (successfully and very meticulously planned) microbrewery I've become a bit of a hybrid when it comes to new stories.

I have a short story as part of the Decadent Publishing OneNightStand series:  Caught Offside.  The entire plot was hatched in my head while I watched the last Harry Potter movie.  Seriously.  I wrote it in two days with very little alterations from what I dreamed up watching Voldemort go down.

I'm working on a new one for this same series, Spice Bazaar, that appeared to me while dog walking (my muses...Layla and Roxie) BUT I am finding myself having to go about it differently.  I don't know if it's because I have so many projects going on at once between major edits for a major submission next week plus all the blog posting I've agreed to to promote The Tap Room plus gearing up for The Big Season around here:  football and beer and my Tap Room's first fall open for business, BUT....I caught myself OUTLINING the steps to the One Night Stand!  Ack!  And I wrote out character sketches BEFORE I actually started the story.

Dear Lord, I've lost my pantser mojo.....sigh....

For today, I leave you with some cover yummies for my new novel with Rebel Ink Press, coming out Oct. 3!

Oh, and be sure and check my shiny new website!

cheers and happy plotting!


Tina Donahue said...

Wow, I've always been a plotter. Have to know what the ending is before I even start writing. That's not to say that some elements don't change during the process, but the thought of just sitting down and writing the first draft without an extensive outline scares the crap out of me. I admire anyone who's a pantster. My hat's off to you. Hey, I envy you! :)

Paris said...

I sometimes wish I could be a total panster but I seem to be a hybrid. A working synopsis (even when it changes) seems to be part of the entire creative process.

Love the new cover and your website looks great!

Liz said...

thanks guys!

Amber Skyze said...

I run my life with 5 calendars, but I haven't been able to plot a story yet. I've tried twice. Both times I couldn't finish the books. I want to be a plotter, but I'm a pantser still! :o)

Love the pantsed pic and the cover is super hot.

Liz said...

Thanks Amber! How's the babe?

jean hart stewart said...

Love your balancing act, both on the cans and in your writing life. I always seem to know my first and last chapters, but sometimes really struggle with the rest...Jean

Katalina Leon said...

I need a basic plot arch and I like to know how the story will end, but along the way I have to pants. If I over plot the story, I miss out on too many good twists.
Most of the time I find out what's going to happen next just ahead of my characters.
I like it that way.
PS nice legs!

Janice said...

The few times I actually plotted something, I found I then couldn't write it. I had plotted the heart out of the story. Since I knew how it ended I couldn't write it at all.

I really need the story to unfold as I write it.

With your limited time, I guess plotting would be a God send.

Good luck with your release.

BTW, that photo at the top is hilarious.


Liz said...

thanks all! it is a tough act, this balancing thing. but I practice on beer kegs as you can see.

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