The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, January 12, 2019

How Sioux is Turning Into a Planner (Shudder!)

I'm a pantser. I fly by the seat of my pants. The WIP I'm most proud of is a middle grades novel and is being critiqued as we speak. Because of this manuscript, I'm wearing the I-didn't-do-any-outline-or-map-any-of-it-out badge of honor. (Of course, I wrote 27,000 words, had to scrap almost all of it, and then had to build it back up, through "channeling" the main character, until it's now at 50,000 words. Perhaps a dollop or two of planning might have made things easier for me.)

I've had many writing friends and colleagues try to use a taser encouragement to prod me into trying to plan out my writing. Sue Bradford Edwards writes about her story boards, and I envision a board the size of an art-gallery wall, covered with organized post-its and photos and illustrations and colorful yarn connecting the different parts. I don't know what her boards truly look like, but I do know she's a prolific and successful freelance writer. Planning obviously works for her.

An editor I hired tried to convince me to map out my story into 3 acts. Margo Dill gave me some specific suggestions for each act. I now have to admit: Margo, I did all my "planning" in my head as I went. I hope you'll agree that in this case, pantsing worked. (Margo has my manuscript and since we're snowed in today, perhaps she's reading it right now.)

However, it's a miracle! I'm embracing planning. Finally. I just finished Jessica Brody's book Save the Cat! Writes a Novel and it's transforming. I'm already thinking about how I can make my story map (with index cards and corkboard) portable, since I'll be going to a writing retreat in February.

If you check out my post at The Muffin you can find out some details about this book.

(A book that can change Sioux from a pantser into a planner? That book must have some powerful mojo...)