The Writing Process & How Mine Changed

I stalk the Pitch War hashtag trying to learn new things. And late last month they posted a graphic with questions for everyday in July. I was super excited to jump in. I decide to do as many in advance as possible, but when I got to Day 5; Plotter, Pantser or Plantser. I thought maybe there was something I was missing, so I did what I do best: research. I started with the dictionary on my phone and then the one on my shelf—nothing. So I did what all sensible writers do I googled it. And there it was blog, after blog. I learned I’m a plasnter, which makes me feel like I’m planting a garden.

When I first started writing I tried really hard to be a plotter, to the point where I couldn’t get anything written. I was desperately trying to outline an entire book before writing even one scene. I just couldn’t get past it, and in turn I would lose the idea. Then one day I read an interview with a YA author and she explained that she started the book with a scene from the middle of the book.
And I thought… Why didn’t I think of that? I mean really?

Later that day I started writing my current manuscript, more specifically, the second chapter. But when I got half way through the book I realized that I needed to know more about this world of fairies and Elves and Dragons, where it was taking my main character. Why my main character was there? The reasons had changed while I was writing.
I ran to the one person who understands my thinking process better than anyone, my husband. We bounced idea’s back and forth until I had a firm grasp on what my main character needed. I put on blinders and went back to plotting, but this time I started an outline without a problem.

I wrote down all the events, already in the manuscript on index cards placing them on the floor. I knew my ending, and some of scenes to get my protagonist there. I wrote them on the cards and put them in place. Then I taped the index cards to my office wall, making it easier to move the cards around or to move one down to make room for a needed connection between scenes. From time to time I turn cards around to add details about conversations, actions or scenery.

When I finally figured out the beginning I wrote it on a card and put it in place, or at least so I thought, I figured it out. I’ve rewritten the first chapter several times since.

The experience taught me a lot. I now write the original scene that sparks a new book idea before I lose the creative juices altogether. If the story won’t be put in line to wait its turn in the deep dark corner of my usb, then I outline the story around the original idea, writing any scenes that come to me.

However, I still write my scenes in the order they come to me and rarely is that in chronological order.

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