Yes, I’m a panster.
For those in the writing know, that means that I write my stories by the seat of my pants.
The opposite end of the spectrum are the plotters. They plan, they outline, they strike me as exceedingly organized, and they add the wordiest parts later. As I understand it.
As a panster, I can only imagine the life of the plotter. But when I do, I cringe.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it!!! Not at all. I’m afraid it’s not just my thing and the thought of working that way makes me feel like I’m back in high school, not in a good way.
I love to see my created world unfold before me, to let the words flow and the action come and discover as I write what is going to happen.
When that’s all done, though, the panster must become the plotter.
Except I don’t know how. I remind you, it’s not my thing.
So it’s been trial and error. Today’s trial we shall call trial #5. I’ve tried a few other things already and perhaps one day I’ll blog of them, but today it’s #5 for discussion.
I began by taking my list of chapters, a really basic list. Number, title, one word descriptions of where things took place (i.e. scene shifts). Most chapters had 2-5 such words. But that’s not the plotting aspect. Well, maybe it’s plotting trial #2, One Must Have a Summary of One’s Novel’s Chapters.
The plotting aspect was adding symbol descriptions of tension for each chapter.
Arrows up were for a tension increasing chapter, a star for a holy-fuck-tense chapter, a watery squiggle for a more relaxed, catch-your-breath chapter. Some chapters had more than one marker, like a main indicator plus a modifier.
I marked in the current state of feeling in the chapter and then went to Analyze Town. A wonderful place that all writers should spend time in, imo.
I saw at the start of my novel a lovely anticipatory intro then a big tense chapter then a drop to catch our breath.
The middle was decently paced.
The end of the book had a generally higher level of tension but it doesn’t have the good variation, the rolling waves that bring readers up to the pinnacle of the climax. Like a great round of sex, or love-making if you prefer. You don’t want to just get all excited and then poof done.
You want the excitement to draw you in, tantalize you, until you have to follow the story further.
And then it gets more intense until you are feeling almost over-stimulated and so the love-making slows, letting you catch your breath, and relax just a little.
So that when you start getting seriously intimate again, you can handle more of the passion, can feel more intense sensations without hitting that too much stage.
By ratcheting up the intensity with periods of apparent calmness you can get to a much higher fever pitch. And that means a much bigger orgasm in the end!
Well, unless the end moments fail to live up to the promise and then it’s just a frustrating fizzle.
I don’t want to finish my story with a frustrating fizzle. That’s just depressing.
So trial #5 is telling me where to relax further, where to make the conflict and tension stronger.
Which means tomorrow…okay, saturday, it’s back into the story with much more clarity of what my next stage of editing will look like.