As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I don’t work from outlines; I don’t plot out every detail of my story before I write it. I sit down, look at a blank page and let my characters talk to me.
Hopefully, they’ve started talking before I get to the computer. I get some of my best ideas, and hear my characters talking the loudest, right before I fall asleep. I’ve learned to keep something by my bed to take down notes so I don’t forget what they’ve said the next morning.
But lately, I’m not hearing those characters talking as much as I usually do. It could be that I’ve been busy editing one completed manuscript and writing another. It could be other stressors in my life. It could just be a dry spell. We all get them. It’s not a big deal. I find the best way to work through them is to just relax and let it pass on its own.
However, it has gotten me thinking. I’ve been thinking I wish I was a plotter. I’m not. I can’t write off an outline to save my life. But I have taken some of those techniques and adapted them to my writing life.
After I write a first draft, I outline what I wrote. At least, I do when I remind myself to be organized. It’s helpful to find my way through the manuscript, to know where I put what, and to recognize areas that need to be further developed. It’s also helpful with timelines, which I’m notoriously bad at developing. And it’s great for writing a synopsis.
I’ve also started keeping character sheets to remind myself what each one looks like. You wouldn’t think it’s so hard to remember, but for some reason, I find it hard to keep eye color and hair color and other characteristics straight. Creating a document with everything on it makes it easier.
So I think at some point, I might become a combination plotter/pantser. For now, I’m doing whatever works and making an effort to be more organized. I’ll let you know how it goes!