So, a quick recap for those of you who don’t tune in regularly: I am a writer who supports my family by writing. I lost two weeks to a drug side effect; then, my poorly thought out efforts to make up for those two weeks drained me sufficiently that a long, lingering illness set in (I blame the lingering effects of the drug). Now that I’m about 75% recovered, I’m working on re-entering my work. In order to do that, I had to replenish my sorely depleted energy stores. The quickest and surest way to do that was to go back to my roots: fiction.
Are you with me? Good, because this is where things get a bit sticky. As those of you who’ve been reading for a while already know, I’m an “advocate” of planning. When tackling a project that is the size of a novel, I believe that the most efficient method is to plan it out first and then write it.
When I was drowning in my own misfortunes and flailing about for anything that would float, I caught hold of the story that’s been running through my head and started writing it down. There was no plan. I just wrote whatever gurgled to the top. Before I knew it, I had the beginning of the beginning and the end of the beginning of a novel. So, I started filling in the details.
I still needed some semblance of order, so I bought four composition notebooks of equal size, which had space for prose and space for notes. Each notebook was intended to contain one of the four parts to a novel. (The beginning, which ends with an act of major change; the first half of the middle, which ends with a catalyst that transitions the protagonist from a “wanderer” to a “warrior;” the second half of the middle, which ends with the move that sets the end in motion; and the end, with the finale and denouement.) So, I had something to keep myself on track.
Now that I’m doing better, it has occurred to me that my flailing around resulted in me starting as a pantser instead of a planner. Considering my past advice, it tasted bitterly of hypocrisy. I recently reached the dregs of this bitter brew when I wrote myself into something of a corner. Now my reason and my instincts are disputing whether it’s really a corner at all.
These are exactly the sort of conundrums I like to work out before I start really writing!