When a Pantster, Plots

If you’ve had half an eye on my blog of late, you might know that I’m currently working on a new book called Fairway To Heaven. It’s my contemporary golf romance (though they don’t seem to play much golf).

This weekend, I hit 34,565 words after having two good writing days on Saturday and Sunday. Writing days are gold for me. I have two young boys and a husband who aren’t great fans of me locking myself in a writing cave for extended periods. Lucky we don’t have a dog as well. Or a cat. Lucky too my family copes with things like sausage rolls (homemade – thanks mum) for dinner (x2); and soup, and baked beans on toast (plus leftover red sausages from the previous weekend’s birthday party) for lunch!

If it hadn’t been for the two preliminary football finals (AFL), I’m sure I would have racked up a few more words!

But here is the interesting bit. I’m a pantster. And if the jargon isn’t familiar to you, that means a writer who doesn’t plot out their books… but just flies by the seat of their pants.

I’ve seen and read blogs from other authors who have wonderful whiteboards and reams of post-it notes with ‘three-act structures’ and ‘plot points’ and ‘conflict boxes’… arrows running everywhere.

That is not my style. Arrows and flow charts and diagrams make writing seem too much like math. (Did I mention I hate math?)

Now please don’t get me wrong. I always have a basic plot in my mind before I start. A sense of what will happen in the beginning, how it’s going to end, and what might happen as we go along.

In His Brand Of Beautiful, I did at least fill a couple of diary pages with notes about what might happen in each chapter. The Goodbye Ride was a novella, so it already felt short. I can’t remember making notes for that story at all. And definitely with Fairway, not a dot point got jotted down anywhere.

Last night, that changed.

At 34,565 words, I finished Chapter 11. What I then did is kind of unprecedented for me.

I wrote chapter heads for 12, through 20, with a Chapter 21/epilogue at the end, and then for each heading I’ve written a very rough synopsis of what’s going to happen.

See: Plotting for Dummies, and nothing mathematical about it!

Now I get to see how it works. Wish me luck.

If you’re interested in a learning more about Fairway, please click here.

Binge Writing Works For Me

Have you heard of Plotters and Pantsters? If not, Google it. Maybe add some type of ‘authors’ or ‘writers’ keyword too, otherwise I’m sure Pantsters will, err, pull up all sorts of things, some rather eyelash-curling.

I am a definite Pantster. I’m also a binge writer. Bingeing Pantster. BP.

When the stars align for me, I write big chunks of stuff. Like here: https://lilymalone.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/some-days-are-diamonds/

I think it’s because I so very rarely get a clear headspace to write. I’m a stay-at-home mum. Even the small bit of part-time/freelance work I do, I can do from home. And Home is where the Kids are. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are not conducive to quality writing time, unless they’re watching a movie or they’re asleep. Or they’re asleep watching a movie.

Yesterday, my husband took the kids on an outing to Victor Harbor with their Nan and Pop. They were gone about six hours. Six Beautiful Hours! Given everyone is in a goal-setting mind for the new year, my achievements yesterday went like this:

a) vacuumed New Years Day mess from house

b) emptied/restacked dishwasher

c) third draft Little Gems entry, after Critique Partner feedback. I think it’s nearly there.

d) wrote the opening to Chapter 2 of my WIP. It’s called Fringe Benefits but I think I’ll be changing that name. I have so struggled with getting in the swing of writing this. I have an entire first draft, but it’s literally the very first romance novel I wrote and MAN when I read it back after two years, it is SO very bad. So it’s taking big chunks of time that so far, I haven’t had. Anyway, I now have a reasonable first chapter, and I’m happy with this new draft of Chapter 2. Progress. About 2000 words of it. Tick!

e) Rachael Johns in a FB post alerted me to a Carina Press anthology with submission deadline at March 1; and publication in December 2013, (if your story is chosen for it). So last night, I worked on an idea for that. I finished Chapter 1 (first draft) of about 2500 words. I thought the idea of Harley & Holidays was intriguing, though the holiday must be ‘winter’ theme and that doesn’t work quite so well for southern hemisphere as what it would in the north. Winter holidays for me are about limited to the Queens Birthday Long Weekend in June. So I will have to work with that. Of course, March 1 is a pretty tight deadline, so we will have to see how it goes.

Just briefly on 2013 goals, here are mine:

a) Not to get cranky with the kids when they play bomber planes and Sumo wrestlers in my writing room

b) Not to get cranky with the kids, period.

c) Get His Brand Of Beautiful published! Christmas/New Year & holidays aren’t great times to be back and forth-ing with Publishers on contract negotiations… things are dragging out a tad.

d) Write a 18,000 – 33,000 word novella. (This is the Harleys and Holidays idea mentioned above.) I haven’t done that before. Note to self: Google how to write a Novella.

e) Enter Little Gems 2013 (Sapphires).

f) Finish Fringe Benefits (WIP) (whatever it ends up being called). Maybe enter it in the 2013 STALI.

g) Keep Critiquing with Kylie and Kathy.

h) Learn more about marketing. Hopefully when His Brand Of Beautiful is published, get involved in book blogging websites etc (Smarter writers than me tend to call this part of the business – whorganizing ones’ self. :))

i) Possibly join Twitter. I will really have to think about this one. Blogging and Facebook is pretty good for me right now. Can you set a goal that begins with ‘Possibly’? Hmmm.

j) And I guess I should mention: move house, find new house (buy or rent), meet new and old friends when we get to Margaret River. For me, the flight is now booked for 30 January. (Yikes, that Carina Press anthology deadline just gets spookier).

That’s about it for me. I’m going to get back to bingeing today. Yep, bingeing on Cricket. The Third Test against the Sri Lankans starts this morning!