We’re half way through NaNo and, as expected, I’m behind on my word count. No surprise there – I’m a slow writer – but changing the plot five days into NaNo didn’t help either.
What’s more important is that I’ve learned something about my writing process. In my first book (which is still a work in progress, BTW), the plot, subplots, and characters changed over and over again during the first couple of years. I figured this was probably just a natural consequence of having never written a story before, along with the fact that I hadn’t bothered to plot anything out beforehand.
One thing I did learn during those two years of revisions was that I was a plotter at heart. Story structure makes so much sense to me these days, I can’t write without it. So for my NaNo story, I outlined the whole thing ahead of time. Plot points, the midpoint reversal, the “all is lost” moment – yep, it was all right there. None of this “I’ll worry about that stuff later” attitude. So when November 1st rolled around, I was sure the writing process would go more smoothly this time.
After five days of writing I was ready to change the plot…
and some of the characters…
and most of the scenes.
Just like my first book. Arrrg!
So what have I learned in the last two weeks? That no matter how carefully I outline a story beforehand, the real story ideas don’t occur to me until I’m actually putting words down on paper. I may begin a project as a plotter, but I have to switch to pantser mode when I’m write. Then, after all these new ideas come pouring in, I have to switch back to plotter mode in order to fit them into the story. And then I switch back to pantser mode again and continue to write. Back and forth. Over and over again.
I feel like Jekyll and Hyde. I’m not a plotter or a pantser. I’m a plotser.
So which one are you?