Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#IWSG for January 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Eva @ Lillicasplace, Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner!

This month's IWSG question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

The one rule I hear a lot, and I don't know if some people would even consider it a rule, is that you must plot out a story before writing it.

I'm a pantser. I've tried plotting, and my stories have deviated from the very general plans I'd laid out every time. I'd like to believe my muse has good instincts, and so I fly by the seat of my pants, loving every second of it.

From some of those that believe plotting is a must, they also add: an author cannot write quality books if they aren't plotted.

This I wish I have never heard. This is where my doubts creep in. Is the reason I'm not successful because I'm not a plotter? Do I lack a vital skill that might make me a great writer? It gnaws away at me, but try as I might to change from pantsing to plotting, I can't do it. My stories flow the way they want to flow, and that is at once both scary and joyful.

Happy New Year to you all! 

33 comments:

  1. Don't be worried about being a panster, Christine. I think the creative process is organic and I am much like you in that I set out with good intentions to plot but somehow the muse takes over. I find this the exciting part! Wishing you a Happy New Year.

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  2. Hi Christine - Suzanne has some wise words - if you're comfortable doing what you do - and we engage as we read ... that's all that's necessary as you build your platform ... writing is like a seedling - it needs to grow ... and you're certainly doing that - all the best - Hilary

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  3. Even though I'm a plotter, I would never, ever view pantsers as bad authors. In fact, I greatly admire them. I'm always amazed by how well-crafted stories are from self-proclaimed pantsers, including yours! I wish I were that skilled, but I can't trust my muse to keep me from writing myself into a corner, so...I plot instead. Sometimes to the point of never launching a project. LOL. So yeah, if pantsing clicks with you, then that's what you should keep doing!

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  4. Happy New Year!
    You know I am a little bit of both. I plot, and I am a pantser. I don't think there is any rule that can't be stretched to fit a writer because all of us are uniquely different.
    All the best for 2017.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

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  5. Happy New Year! I can't follow this rule either. I tried and got stuck. I can plan a bit ahead but not all the way. If you're comfortable being a panster, I think you shouldn't worry about it because it obviously works for you.

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  6. I consider my process more of a hybrid - I both pants and plot. :) Although for NaNo this year, I did do more planning and found it worked a lot better for me in terms of the result. Maybe as we grow and change, our writing process does as well? Maybe it depends on the project?

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  7. See, I don't know that that's a rule so much as a general bit of advice. I know a TON of pantsers who can't plot to save their lives. I also know the other extreme--people who can't write a word until they've meticulously planned every twist. For me, a bit of plotting speeds the writing process, but I don't go all crazy with the planning.

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  8. I think each author has a process that works for them- it is not whether you plot or pants that makes the story great but rather how well you end up crafting the story by the end of revisions.
    This is something I had not heard and makes me a little sad that someone told you that. Chin up, I believe in you.

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  9. No, you write the way that suits you. It's not for everyone. Some of us need to plot. You don't.

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  10. Write the way that makes you happy. You'll know when the story needs a bit of plotting after the first draft is done - or just a general outline so you'll remember what happens when and why as you do your rewrites. Or not. Happy writing.

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  11. I've always been of a mindset that everyone is different. If we analyze several uber successful writers, they're all different. Some plan, some don't. Some write everyday, some don't. All "rules" in the art world are negotiatable. Let it gnaw no more!! ^_^ I'm more of a hybrid writer, myself. I usually plan a little. I have planned a lot. Right now I'm barely planning at all. Every story wants to do it's own thing with me.

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  12. LOL, I'm a panster too and only do the outline after the story is almost finished to find holes in the plot and areas that need fixed. :)

    Happy 2017!
    Hope you're feeling better!

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  13. I can't plot either. I only ever have a general idea and even then it may change as I go. I know plot is where I'm weakest, so I do try...

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  14. I plot, but sometimes I don't even write it down. It's just in my head and subject to change at will.

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  15. I'm still trying out plotting to see how it works for me. In the past I've pantsed the first draft, then wrote an outline, then tweaked the story to fit the outline to make sure I hit the important points and beats. It worked, but it's a lot of extra work. I would like it I could just follow an outline the first time, but I haven't figured that out yet. I'll let you know how it turns out. :-)

    IWSG January

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  16. "My stories flow the way they want to flow, and that is at once both scary and joyful." <--- Love this. I completely agree.

    I'm a total plotter, and it still doesn't get me anywhere. Besides, there are no guarantees that the story will actually stay on the path I so carefully map out. So I think you're probably okay being a pantser.

    There's no one right way to write a story. Every author has to figure out what works best for them, and then do that.

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  17. Yay, I'ma panster too:) I used to be a plotter, but much prefer being a panster now. :)

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  18. Like others have said, whatever works for you is the way to go. I've tried both pantsing and plotting. I think I'm probably somewhere in the middle. It's more my procrastination that I need to overcome :-)

    Cheers - Ellen

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  19. You'll get there. You should be so proud of how many books you have written. What a nice backlist when you take off. I have a feeling that will soon. Your new series looks great.

    I'm a pantser but I am learning to plot in small ways. I recently discovered the 4 act structure which was new to me and I think I like it. Still learning.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit


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  20. I stall like crazy when trying to plot or outline. An idea and a direction works best for me, but doubt creeps in for me too.

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  21. I definitely need to plot my story out ahead of time, but I can see where that wouldn't work for some people. In fact, my stories begin deviating from my outline so quickly that I almost feel like a pantser at times.

    As long as the finished product is polished, it doesn't matter what path you took to get there.

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  22. I can't plot either. Once I plotted out a story and lost all motivation to write it because I knew what would happen and the fun of writing was gone.

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  23. Every writer has her own approach. Don't feel bad about yours. We all start from the same place - a blank page - and strive to reach the same - a good story - but our roads are all different.

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  24. Personally, I think you're a better writer because you're a pantser. Writing an entire novel with no outline is no small achievement. Then again, we're pantsers too, so we're probably biased. But my favorite moment in writing is when I just let myself go and the plot takes this amazing detour on its own that I never could have possibly imagined, and it makes the book so much better, something that definitely would not have happened if I laid out this strict outline and insisted I stick to it. Sometimes it's good to color outside the lines. :)

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  25. Do what works for you! The key is, I think, to make an outline after you've pantsed your way to "the end" and see if it makes sense.

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  26. I think if the way you work is working for you, then no need to compare to others who need something different. Be your own swan :)

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  27. You're not alone, Christine!!! I can't plot if my life depended on it, well maybe, a very little.

    By the way, I love your writing!!

    Happy New Year!

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  28. I didn't know that some have said a novel can't be done well if not plotted. I'm a pantser too and don't think I'll ever change. I've tried plotting and get nowhere.
    Your books are great just the way you do them!

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  29. Awesome post. Plotting does help. But to my way of thinking a bit of both works...plotting and pantsing.

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  30. I totally feel you. I never stick to a plot, if I do happen to make one. And those judgmental statements about quality despite not reading anything make my skin crawl.

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  31. A lot of writers think their way is the only way to success. And of course they'd think so, because no one wants to think they're somehow shooting themselves in the foot.

    Personally, I disregard any opinion that refuses to take into account that other people might have a different method that works just as well.

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  32. That's a good one! It's really funny because I'm the opposite.. I started my first book panster and enjoyed it, but now I'm all about the plotting. Love seeing different takes on the writing method. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year! =-)

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  33. Thank you, everyone! You guys are amazing. I'm always excited when I read how many other pantsers are out there. :)

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