Plotting vs Pantsing

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As writers we usually fall into two categories:

Plotters

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and Pantsers

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I’ve always been a pantser.

I do usually have an idea for how the story will end but the full plan of how to get there only comes as I write the novel.

Due to how things have worked out for me recently, I’ve changed the way I work.

Now mind you, I’m not becoming a full plotter but I’m doing a little mixing.

I’ll plan certain details for the next chapter, then work on it. This has helped me a lot because I have been struggling a bit with Topaas.

Now it’s working 🙂

Sometimes changing the way you do things can make all the difference.

 

Tribute to Jane Austen

Yesterday was Jane Austen’s birthday so I’d like to talk a little about the impact that she has had on me as a writer.

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I’ve been reading Austen’s work since I was ten-years-old. I love her novels and the things that I’ve gained from them.

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When I was 14, my love of the books grew to an admiration of Austen and her time period as well.

I was in a high school honors English class where we were studying British literature. At the beginning of the school year we each chose a British author that we wanted to do our research project on.

I chose Austen.

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For the project, we had to research both the author’s life as well as the time period and show how they are representatives of that era.

The Regency era fascinated me so much that I continued to research it through the rest of my high school career and throughout my time in university.

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The language of this era is so dominant in my head that when I work on something that is not Regency, I have to consciously not use the formality of speech.

Jane Austen wrote wonderful books that stand the test of time and I am glad that I have the chance to study them as I work on novels set in her time period.

Have a great weekend!

Cautions About Taking a Writing Break

So as most of you know, I went to Israel at the end of last month.

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View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

While on the trip, I would write a sentence or two each day so I could still click yes on my Commit app (I’m currently at 288 days in a row) but for the most part it was a writing break.

I didn’t think of my manuscript at all other than the less than five minutes each day where I would write something down before going to sleep.

For me, this hasn’t been helpful for my writing because now that I’m back, I’ve been in a funk.

My desire to write has plummeted.

There are some people who find it helpful to step away from their manuscripts and give themselves a break from writing before coming back to look at it with new eyes.

That doesn’t work for me.

Taking breaks from one novel may help but I always work on one of my other projects when I do that.

One or two days of just jotting down a sentence or two may be good but ten days was not helpful.

Now I need to force myself out of this funk so I can get my manuscript rolling again.

Villain Discovery

My main villain in Topaas has been on my mind a lot recently. While everywhere else in the novel I feel like I have a handle on things, I don’t have it with him.

He’s gone through several drafts of development but in this new draft, I haven’t been sure if his personality is similar to how it was before. Fortunately, I have a roommate that asks good questions and she gave me a few to think about.

Those thoughts led me to think about ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

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Mary Margaret/Snow White shows how everyone has inner darkness that they need to face, even heroes. Everyone makes mistakes but it’s how one deals with it that determines who you are.

Season 4B of the TV series focuses on what makes heroes and villains. There is light and dark inside of everyone. What it comes down to is summed up in the final episode by Mary Margaret. “[Villains] make themselves happy at the expense of others, but it just makes them more unhappy.”

For me, I need to flesh my villain out so I know the point that changed him from someone who wanted to fit in, to a killer. Like that post I reblogged on Monday said, a traumatic backstory does not make anyone a hero or a villain. It’s how you choose to react.

I know several points along my villain’s path to becoming what he is. Now is the time for me to find out what shifted.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

I’m excited to finally figure this character out 🙂

Boo Frickin’ Hoo: The Sob Story

I know I’ve posted today already but this post about villains is awesome.

Build a Villain Workshop

Why would anyone ever do what is evil? That’s the question that makes villains interesting, isn’t it? For some of us, answering this question goes the route of behaviorism: something must have made them that way. No one is just born evil.

Of course, in the age-old debate of nature vs nurture, the answer remains a little bit of both. No one is born evil, and no one can be forced into evil by their circumstances. The thing to remember is that people have a choice; bad things don’t produce a single outcome. Just look at the stories of the Holocaust, which brought out the absolute best and worst of those involved – both Nazi soldiers and imprisoned Jews. There were those who gave away their bread to those who were sick and dying, even though they’d still die, and that healthy man might have a chance to live if…

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Understanding the Big Picture

So I’ve been working on Topaas for a while (all in all, even though I got back and forth between it and Sapphyre) and in this draft, I’m finally seeing the big picture.

Scenes that fell flat before now have the emotion that I originally wanted for them.

As a writer, if you don’t feel the emotion of a scene, it will be difficult for other people to feel it.

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I have gotten to know a character that is going to die a little further in to the novel and because of that, now the earlier scenes that this character is in make me cry or laugh. This character is special to me and because of that, it has made it so I feel more when I’m writing.

I’ve found my heart in Topaas and hopefully, that means that others will feel something when they read.