Pantsing or Plotting?
Let me begin by saying I’ve taken not one, but three classes on plotting. I long to plot a story from start to finish. A series of notecards, detailed outlines or a body of ideas that can be linked together from beginning to end with minor glue to connect the dots. I’ve tried and tried, but other than a valid brainstorming session…I can’t plot. I have napkins that have a summary of ideas. I have notes here and there describing what I think my story will be like, but very rarely does it end up remotely resembling what’s scribbled or jotted. Actually plotting is a torturous process for me. I can probably write the whole damn book while others plot theirs out. But I’ve got to admit I’m jealous of those that are experienced plotters. It’s a masterful art.
I’m a pantser and make no bones about it. I have a binder of story ideas. If something comes to me I write it down, whether it pertains to the current manuscript I’m working on or one I want to create. I use the pages app on my phone almost every day, whether it’s to jot down a brilliant sentence or just a series of words. You’d be amazed to see my list of sexual words. There are a variety of ways to say the word penis and vagina, no kidding. I have about a body of thirty for each and it grows daily. I keep a file in Scrivener of perfect sentences. Each and every author knows when they’ve penned the perfect prose. As a writer you don’t ever want to forget when it happens. I remember hitting the stop button on live TV this last season during The Game of Thrones. There were two pinnacle moments in one episode that were so memorable that I had to get it down on paper. Stannis Baratheon tells Jon Snow “Kill the boy and let the man be born.” Are you kidding me? That is brilliant!
I say all this to point out something about me and how I write. Nothing is written in stone. I thought I would call the heroine of my new novella series Claire, but after brainstorming with my assistant I said an androgynous name for a girl would be cool because she could be known in her personal life as one name and have a questionable name in her secret life. We discovered the name Emerson and that’s what it became. She can be Em, Eme or Emerson…perfect. I also typically write brunettes. Wonder why? So got my first blonde - Katie “Bug” Simon, brilliant general surgeon with a crush so deep on her brother’s best friend it all but destroyed her as a child and now he’s back. You can check out an excerpt for PRESCRIPTION FOR LOVE on my blog. As for Emerson, I said blonde or brunette. Courtney (my trusted, multitasking and creative assistant) said, “Why not a redhead? They’re more rare, especially the really beautiful one’s.” So the hunt began for Emerson and it didn’t take long. I found her within about ten minutes. I do like to build story boards. She’s the heroine for CLAIMING EMERSON.
You can never anticipate where a story will go plotting or pantsing. You think it will go one way, but then you hit a wall and it’s hard to overcome it without changing it. It may be a simple change of direction or a major plot change. I never anticipated that the characters would talk so much and lead their own way through a story, but it happens.
That’s why pantsing works for me. I’m open to change and love when I free flow into something amazing. I can write anywhere from 3,000-4,000 words on a good day and on a really good day more. Life comes alive one word at a time, teasing the paper first then teasing the mind.
Here's the opening to CLAIMING EMERSON
At age six I discovered what it meant to have a broken heart. By seven I had adopted a second language and a second country. At age eighteen I lost my virginity to the only man I'd ever love, but it was a man twenty years my senior that taught me the true art of seduction, sensuality and femininity. By age twenty eight I had acquired a Ph.D. in Art History with an emphasis on Romance Languages and The Renaissance. At age twenty nine I was instated as the youngest curator to ever grace the marble floors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At that same age, I’d become the most sought after escort in New York City.
By day I charmed wealthy benefactors into gifting the art world with their money and time. It was my first passion, my dream and my quest, but by night I was the gift and my time didn’t come cheap. I lived a double life, conservative in one world, daring and risky in the other. It was a shell game I’d mastered long ago. The art of illusion wasn’t just something I’d become proficient at, I lived it. - Emerson Anee
It's Margarita Wednesday!
These are Jalapeno-Cucumber Margaritas
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup white tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1/4 cup simple syrup, or more as needed
4 thin slices cucumber
1 jalapeno, halved lengthwise
Ice, for serving
Salt for glass rims, optional
Mix together the lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur, simple syrup,cucumber and jalapenos in a large pitcher. Chill for at least 1 hour (the longer the margarita sits, the more the cucumber and jalapenoflavors infuse into the drink).
Serve over ice in salt-rimmed glasses, if desired.
Here's what I'm listening to: HOZIER - SOMEONE NEW
Happy Wednesday Loyal Followers. Stay tuned in and turned on!
Heather M. Miles [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]