Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And then and then and then?!

Or, a post about pantsing.

The pluses of pantsing are many, but mostly it comes down to sweet freedom. Your character doesn't want to go where you want him to go? No prob. One of your characters inexplicably falls in love with someone you didn't plan on? Fine. (Cause we all know characters rarely behave.)

The problem with all that freedom is that sometimes you look at your fledgling novel and think... Uh... What next?

"Well..." you think. "How about some kissing. Or fighting. Or maybe they should go out to eat and I can spend a lot of time describing their food." So you write the scene, feeling very pleased with yourself for not falling prey to writer's block, when the little voice in your head says... "And then?"

So you write the next scene on the list, but.."and then?"

It's really hard to plot your pantsing on the fly. So here's what I do- I make a character bible. It doesn't give me the anxiety that outlining does, but it gives you so many options for your "and then?"

I don't use character worksheets because they're just a little too universal for me. I like to write out the standard stuff, like hair/eye, quirks, etc. but then I go to journaling. The worst day of my character's life was___. The best birthday present they ever got was___. The thing that scares them most is___. All from their POV.

Now you have blueprints for scenes that that fit into the character arc, and thus may actually advance your plot. At the very least, it shakes up the way you think about your little pawns, and makes them more three-dimensional.

That's what works for me, what are your tricks for pulling a plot out of thin air halfway through your WiP?



  1. I am such a plotter that even reading this post makes me tense. LOL! But the character Bible is an awesome idea!


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