Friday, January 22, 2016

Confession of a Pantser

I am a total pantser and have many times started a story with only the name of one of the characters and a sentence. It's always a miracle that I can get more words as I go along. :)  I spend a lot of my time in the car traveling for work and when I hear a song on the radio that speaks to me for some reason, I make a note of it and when I have about 15, I make a playlist. Once that is done, I immerse myself in those songs and most of the time, a nucleus of a story comes to me.


For example, I heard Please Mister Please by Olivia Newton John for the first time in years right before November. Suddenly, I had a character named Olivia who owned a bar called Ollie's. And since I am not a country music fan, I had her own this bar in Texas and hate the music. AND so, I was off on my #NaNoWriMo story that ended up being 65,000 words. :)


Now comes the confession. I offered to help a friend brainstorm a new book even though I am in the middle of my own with some issues and even though it's the time of year I have to do annual reports for 2015 for the day job.  But, I figured I had plenty of time to help before the book is due and agreed with her to setting some time to do it in February.


I went to bed last night in the midst of a crazy storm. The lightning must have triggered something in the old synapses because I woke up with an awesome first scene in my head. I also had backstory on both main characters and their goals and motivations. Even some internal and external conflict.


Writing all this down took 5 pages in my notebook. I had a plot and a plan. For someone else. What was going on?  AND would she hate it? LOL.  So, I confess. I CAN plot. Shhh,don't tell. It'll be our secret.


** oh and here's a creepy thing. I am listening to Accuradio.com as I wrote this and guess what song came on???**

9 comments:

Suzanne Johnson said...

Hmm....maybe the universe is telling you this plotting thing might work...

I'm actually having trouble plotting my current WIP because unlike most of my books, I came up with the characters before the storyline. Now I have to find something for them to do. Of cousre, writing about humans is so limiting..... :-)

Jillian said...

LOL- yes, writing about humans is very, very limiting. :)

Since when did I listen to anyone, much less the universe? HAHAHAH. I may actually try this plotting thing sometime. Hmmmmm. Maybe....

Roger Simmons said...

I have read many posts about pantser vs. plotter, pros and cons, etc. Just need to say it makes no never mind how you got there, the important thing for us fans is you got there. You guys just keep giving us wonderful books to read and enjoy. THANKS...

Jillian said...

Good answer Roger. I like that. AND yes, it should totally be all about the story, shouldn't it? Thanks for commenting!

Carla Swafford said...

You're killing me. What was playing?

Suzanne Johnson said...

Well said, Roger! And however we get to the end of our stories, we're always grateful that, for the readers, that end result is where the magic happens! Thanks for stopping by.

Jillian said...

Carla- it was the Olivia Newton John song I referred to in the opening paragraphs. It came on just as I was ready to hit publish. CREEPY!!! LOL

AND amen on your comment to Roger, Suzanne. The readers are def. the magic!

Ali Hubbard said...

I feel you! I'm so organized in "regular life." Of course I thought I'd be a plotter. But I have to swing back and forth between the two. Wildly. Lol.

And I've learned to always write down ideas as they occur (or dialog) because I never remember them like I think I will. Grrrrrr

Jillian said...

For sure Ali. I keep notebooks as well as my electronic device handy to take notes or dictate dialogue. AND You'd think I'd be a plotter as anal as I am in the other parts of my life but I guess the pantsing part is me playing. :) Must be the same thing with you- letting that inner child run wild- in a safe way! LOL