Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't go changin'

If you believe in astrology, then, as a Virgo, I should be obsessed with planning and organizing things. I'm not sure what else being a Virgo entails, but that part always stuck to me, mainly because I am so not. After college, I hit some weird personality shift and I did become obsessed with organizing my personal space (room, work desk, etc) but other than that? Nope.

I am what is known in the writing world as a "pantser." As in I write by-the-seat-of-my-pants(er). I originally embraced this and wrote some stories. Granted I was about 10-years-old and had no idea what a pantser was or even that I could grow up to become an author or that I could write anything over ten pages long. The point is that I did it. Then some years pass and I decide I'm going to write a novel. It was awful and I am the first to admit that it should never see the light of day, but it prompted me to join an online critique group.

I totally recommend this for anyone who wants to get serious about writing. I have learned so much and am a much better writer because of it. However, with all of the different personalities, there are bound to be different opinions on the best way to write. Everyone seemed to have such well thought out novels that I said, "Huh. I must be doing something wrong." Right at that point, one of the people on the forum posted a blog about how she plans her novels out with the different steps in novel writing. It was a great post and I decided from that point I would plan out my novels so I knew where I was going when I actually started to write.

Dear Lord, was that the wrong move for me. I would plan out a novel and then never write it. What started out as this great idea turned into something so mundane and boring for me and I just over analyzed EVERYTHING. It was awful. So, on my most recent WIP, I said "Eff this, I'm going to be a pantser again." It's turning out to be so much more work than if I had planned it out, but you know what?

I LOVE IT! And I'm pretty sure my story is better because of it.

My point isn't that planning a story out is wrong. It's not, for some people. But for me it is. You know how adults tell children that everyone is different or special in their own way (or at least they should)? Well writers are kind of like that. Every one will have different advice. Most of it is probably good advice, but it's not always the RIGHT advice.

And there's your challenge. Weed through the tons of advice out there and find what's right for you. You'll know it when you feel it.

Or don't. Whatever works for you.

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