Have you tried to start writing a book or a story and got stocked? Either because you started writing and didn’t know what to write next, or because you created a plot and got bored or blocked? I have, too, but now I’m using Writing Law No. Five.
Throughout the last three years, I have begun four novels. The three of them are located in the drawer (the virtual one) and will probably no longer come out. With the two of them, I just had an idea and started writing. The third I made an outline and a timeline. Common to all three of them is that I stopped writing after two chapters.
For the first two because I ran out of ideas, as I did not know where to go with the story.
For the latter, because I felt bound by the plan and it bored me to write. I’m one of the kinds of people who have to follow a plan when it’s made. Or rather had to.
Planning or writing from the heart
Now I’m writing my fourth novel, and I am more chapters and at least 8,000 word ahead than before. What is the difference? There are two:
The first is that I am trying to follow Law No. Five of my writing manifesto: I have to balance planning and pantsing. As a rule, there are two types of authors. Plotters are those who plan the whole thing before they start writing. Pantsers are those who put the but in the seat and write from there.
The other difference is that I’m in a writing community, but more about that in next post where I tell you about going on a writing retreat.
Back to Law No. Five.
It’s been four months since I got the idea of the book I’m writing now, and so far I’ve created several mind maps of characters and plot, outlined 15 chapters and wrote the first 10,000 words. In other words, I’m definitely a plotter type.
Along the way, it has always been my intention that the bad guy should be a man as usual, but a few days ago, after spending a week writing a single difficult scene, I realized that the villain had no motive.
I had been so focused on the protagonist and her relationships that I had not considered the villain at all. [Insert appropriate nasty verb here], my plan was not durable, I kept thinking.
Writing Law No. Five
Had it been a year ago, I had stalled the story at that moment – just like before. Instead, while I did anything else but writing, I kept repeating Law No. 5 to myself, and that it is okay to deviate from the plan.
Among other things, I arranged the last bed in the garden. When I bent to gather weeds up, I felt the bites of sore muscles and it reminded me of my incredibly bad shape. It started a drift of thoughts. that I had to start training soon, and I thought about the time I went to the gym several times a week.
A gender shift
Suddenly, the idea came when one of the girls I used to meet for the training and who stood out from the crowd appeared in my memory. The villain should not be a man but a woman. But not only that. I also knew what the villains motive was going to be. Bingo!
So, the villain now changes gender in my book, even though I am 10,000 words in the story and probably have to rewrite some parts.
And I don’t feel bad about it at all.
What I want to tell you about this story is that you shouldn’t focus on whether you are a plotter or a pantser, but instead Writing Law No. 5 applies. When you balance planning and pantsing, you get the best results.
How do you write? Do you plan the whole story before you get started? Do you write from the heart while pantsing, or both? I’m very curious, so tell me in the comments.