Writing While Swimming with Sharks

Pantsers must love these. I find them terrifying.

Writers will tell you there are three types of writers:

  • Pantsers, those who write extemporaneously (by the seat of their pants.)
  • Planners, those who write using outlines and by planning ahead.
  • Plantsers, those who utilize a combination of the two.

I’m a plantser…but not by choice.

Although a lot of my character development happens when the characters start talking to each other, I begin by planning them, and I like creating a skeletal outline for the plot that I fill in as I go along. I also answer a set of questions before writing each scene.

But with every book, all of that planning falls apart at some point.

Maybe instead of a skeleton, I’m creating outline spider webs. It’s frustrating and frightening. Sometimes, it’s a characters fault. (Thomas Carillon, don’t look away. You know who I’m talking about.)

Often, however, it’s simply because I forgot to look at my notes and got carried away. It’s like swimming in the ocean, looking back, and realizing you’re a lot further out than you intended. You’re out with the sharks now. Land looks faraway and your blanket and cooler are barely visible.

I’m treading those waters now. My throat is clenched with fear, and I’m worried about that thing that just bumped against my leg.

I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. Out of control. The bones all nothing but wispy fragments. I know I’ll work through it and find my way back to the story I had planned—to those scenes I was waiting eagerly to write and the Happily Ever After that has kept me going. By the time I finally get to that HEA and do a few revisions, I should have something a little different than I had planned, but better.

Sometimes being a writer means clutching spiderwebs in your hands and swimming with the sharks.

That outline that I thought was such a strong skeleton. Thanks again, Thomas.
Thomas also talks to ghosts. His cat, Gracie, senses them. To discover more about how shy Thomas meets the love of his life and solves a series of murders in 1888 Texas, you can buy Carillon’s Curse on Amazon or read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.

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