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Plotter or Pantster
Recently I was asked if I knew how the Turbulence series was going to turn out when I started writing it. That’s an interesting question, because the answer is both yes, and no.
Writers are usually divided into two broad categories: plotters and pantsters. Plotters determine the structure of their story and the cause-and-effect relationships when they start out. They see the story in its entirety and have an outline in place while they write. The outline may be mental or it may be written, but either way, the work of writing for them is in fleshing out the skeleton of their plot with details that make the story come alive.
Pantsters (so called because they write by the seat of their pants) can also be called discovery writers. They sit down at their keyboard and feel out the story as they tell it. They’re the story’s first audience.
Few writers are purely one or the other. Certainly some pantsters know where they’re going in general, and some plotters allow themselves to re-think their outline if they discover something more compelling as they deviate from the plan. But me? I’m definitely at the discovery writer end of the continuum.
I find it’s imperative to know in general how everything is going to turn out. I also like to know why everything is happening. It might seem that knowing what and why are pretty pre-planned, and in a way, it is. But I usually have no idea how the backstory is going to be revealed. In that sense, I’m viewing the story as it unfolds exactly as a reader might, albeit at a snail’s pace.
Since I didn’t know specifically how many months I wanted to run the Turbulence serial, my general idea was to set up the conflict of having the main character discover a baffling phenomenon, and then have him try to solve it. In the end, he’d discover the cause, which I knew from the beginning. The whole middle could have been anything, though. I knew it would be a series of red herrings and dead ends that would eventually culminate in a discovery. But that middle area was flexible enough that I could sustain or condense it as I needed to.
Of course, even though I plan things, my discovery writing tends to take precedence over my planning. I had envisioned a critical point of the story being explained with a deck of cards. This was the analogy a friend of mine used as we were hashing out the root cause of the phenomenon. Then it came time to write it, and I saw that if I forced that deck of cards into the story, it would have felt contrived for everyone to drop what they were doing and play cards. Picking up a prop that was already in the room (in this case a cup full of crickets) turned out to be infinitely more effective than sticking to the plan.
"I'm a cop. Coffee runs through my veins." (Criss Cross)
You can now find Vic's mug with a mug on a mug with the Victor Bayne Coffeeholic design, inspired by the quote from Criss Cross. This design is also on tees, jerseys and PJ's!
Items featuring the Turbulence Collection cover design include journals and Kindle covers.
And for those of you who meant to grab a Channeling Morpheus 2013 calendar but now see the year slipping away, there's an option to begin the calendar at the current month, making it a perpetual Wild Bill and Michael-fest!
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