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Plotting for a Pantser: The Great Experiment Part 1.2

I did not get very far on my plotting experiment. First, I had resistance, but I tried to push through. Then I crashed. So hard! But I am sticking to my whole Pavlovian alarm system for writing time, so I’m building awareness, or at the very least, guilt. (Hear alarm, don’t write, feel bad.) Then I got edits from my freelance editor and covid shots around the same time. It’s taken me a good month to go through everything. It’s like: review, get shot, recover, review, repeat.   

Anywho, long rambling intro short… I’m excited to get back to big project writing! I’m starting the next draft of my novel, but I think I’m in a really good place and this next round won’t take too long. You know how, when you’ve got a story in your head, you also have all the background story for the characters but you don’t always include that backstory in the actual story because you don’t have to? Except sometimes you leave out a part that is important for clarity and tension? That’s where I’m at! There are a couple of details that I kept in my head that just didn’t quite come through in the text. (I was too busy showing not telling, and it was too subtle!) I can see exactly what I need to do, what I need to add back in, and where I need to add it. I’m happy with that.

So what does this have to do with plotting vs. pantsing? (Hmm. I guess I got sidetracked again. I wonder if there is a correlation between people with ADHD and plotting vs pantsing?) I think I was ruminating on how often I feel resistance whenever I hear story arc structures. Inciting incident, rising action, etc. or goal, thwart, etc. I get all prickly and growly about it and I don’t know why! I keep trying to dig down to the heart of the resistance; be introspective about it, but I’m not getting far. I just have this knee jerk reluctance, and it’s dumb because it’s not like I don’t use the same structures in my own writing! My stories have goals and inciting incidences! I just don’t name or outline them. It feels a little bit like giving pet names to old traumas. “And you, abandonment issue from that camping trip, you I’ll call Boopsie! Come meet Priscilla, my fear of commitment. Sit next to Anton, the voice of self-doubt. Tea anyone?”

But I still see the value in plotting and outlining and knowing what you’re doing ahead of time. That just makes sense on a system and efficiency level. So, after I finish this draft, I’m going to give plotting another go this summer for my next book. I wonder… if I go back and outline my finished book… would that help me outline the one I’m about to write? Can I keep practicing at it until I it will feel natural? To be continued.       - wg

P.S. Can you tell that I don’t plan these posts either? I just start writing.

I Only Got the Shot So People Would Leave

My house is falling apart. Not literally. But the housework keeps piling up and I have very little desire to do anything about it. Wait, scratch that… I do WANT a clean house. I dream of freshly dusted shelves and a spotless floor, of bathrooms with no mysterious stains. I fantasize about how nice it would be to have every dish clean and in its proper place. I toy with the idea of putting out bowls of fresh milk each night in hopes that friendly OCD brownies will scrub everything until it shines while I sleep.

But I don’t, because someone will kick over that bowl of milk without noticing and I’ll be left with a half curdled, half crusty spill to clean up. And therein lies the problem, I seem to be the only one who… not only cleans but… notices the mess building up around us.

I’m just so sick of cleaning.

This would be much easier if everyone would get the hell out of my house. School and work were blessings that I never truly appreciated, because when no one is home, there is no one to mess up the house. Especially with big male feet that drag in extra amounts of dirt, and big male hands that always seem to be sticky (what? why?!), and big male stomachs that seem to be constantly EATING! Wrappers, and dishes, and crumbs, oh my.    

Well, guess what, my dear family? We are all on our second shots. We are almost completely vaccinated! And I know, I know, everyone has gotten very comfortable being homebodies. We’ve got our routines down, and our electronic devices close to hand, and our butt grooves worn in perfectly. But the clock is ticking… AND YOU WILL GET KICKED OUT!

Or... you can get your butts in gear and clean up some crap. It's your choice.

Love, wg

P.S. I promise not to change the locks. Maybe. Bwa ha ha!