NaNoWriMo is coming up, and that always brings us back to the subject of Pantsing vs. Plotting. If you know a hardcore plotter, you know they’ve already been up for months, working on their outline, their character profiles, and their world-building. And technically, none of it counts as jumping the gun.
I, on the other hand, am pretty much a pantser. I fling myself in, and start writing with no idea what I’m doing. Or… if you want to be diplomatic, I fly by the seat of my pants. I’m pretty much as hardcore as it gets. I might just have a beginning idea. The last few times I’ve also had some general thought about who lives or dies at the end, and maybe which couples wind up together.
It’s the “Oh, look, a DUCK!” Method of plotting, and while it produces some amazing twists and turns, it also produces an oversized, garbled manuscript.
On the oversized front, there are a few giveaways that you are writing a scene that you don’t need.
- If the scene is romantic in any way, chances are good you’ll just wind up cutting it. As much fun as these can be to write, there are proportion issues to deal with. Your characters can’t spend the whole manuscript canoodling.
- If there’s violence in it. Battle scene? Probably overkill. Serial killer strikes again? No. Focus on ONE victim. Maybe two. Any more than that, and you’re going for ultraviolence.
- Describing any form of technology. I’m really bad about this. Really, really bad. I like technology. I like the details. One of my`characters owns a computer with direct liquid cooling and a series of daisy-chained motherboards, and you’d better believe I know every single teeny-tiny spec.
- Any other hobby or interest that has recently heated up. (Yes, atl-atl. Yes, I know. ATL-ATL. And exactly how does that fit in with your Manhattan Socialite on a spaceship?)
So, here I am trying to plot just enough to stay on track and come up with a recognizable first draft.
Keep things organized.
Finish the scenes I start instead of…
Oh, LOOK! A DUCK!