I’ve been dreading this. Not because I’m embarrassed – I’m of the school that if it works, DO IT! I’m been more worried about how to explain my total pantser mess.
First, the good part:
No haters, now . . . I’m done in one pass. I write anywhere from 500 – 1100 words a day. The next morning, I review and tweak what I wrote the day before. When a chapter is done, I turn it into my critters, and when I get it back, I edit based on their input.Then I’m done. I don’t go back and do second and third edits. I never read the whole thing again until I get suggestions from my editor.
Linda Howard spoke at our our local RWA years ago, and that’s how she does it (only she doesn’t have a crit group). I’m really happy with this part of my process. The thought of skipping ahead, or writing out of order Freaks. Me. Out. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Jenny.)
The other parts:
I this part. I start with a character. A person I’d like to know more about. Timid? Stubborn? Angry? Guilty (a go-to theme of mine . . . let’s leave it at that, unless you know of a meeting I can attend?) I understand who this person is, and their misunderstanding of the world (fatal flaw) before I start. I know the first scene, and spend a lot of time getting it just right. Then I’m off and running, deepening the character with backstory, introducing secondary characters, setting up the world.
In a word: Playing.
I’m having a BLAST! This is going to be a work of untold brilliance. My protagonist is as sparkly as a glitter explosion. Seriously, Atticus’s kid, Scout has nothing on my character.
The DUM-DA-DUM-DUM, Middle
When did my amazing protagonist turn into a whiny, boring, mumu-wearing, cigar smoking, biotch?
Where did my plot go? I swear, it was just here!
From 33% through 62% of of the novel (not that I keep track or anything), the novel is a wasteland. I know the ending. It’s the glimmer over there on the horizon. But between my brilliant beginning and that glimmer? I’ve got nothing. And I mean nothing.
I know what has to happen. My protagonist needs to move along her arc, in logical, small steps. But those steps seem dry as Midland, Texas dust to me (and after a year of living here, I know Midland dust). I HATE this part. I call and
whine, complain, beg for help from my critters. Thank God for them. They calm me down (okay, they laugh) and remind me that I do this every single book (which I forget, every time), tell me I’m not delusional and I will live through it. This book WILL get done, and it’ll be good.
Then they help me plot my way through the wasteland, laying stones in the mud as we go. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without them holding my hand and
laughing at, encouraging me.
It’s here! It’s finally here!
Somewhere after 62.5% (not that I’m counting), as quickly as my brilliant plot dissolved, it reappears. My protagonist is the sparkly character I first envisioned, only better, because now they’ve resolved their issues, and the plot threads are woven together by bluebirds who sing a happy song while they work. It rocks on until . . .
Let it be known: I do not suggest, recommend, or in any way endorse this method. It will add gray to your hair and lines to your face.
Your ass will spread, and your skin will sag.
Do not try this at home.
So, WITS readers, seriously, is your process this challenging?
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She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter (Jan 2014) and Sweet on You (August 2014). The Sweet Spot won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award in the Best First Book category.
Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin’s Superomance line (August, 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town. The Reasons to Stay released August, 2014.
In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.