Writer’s Wednesday

A Pantsers planning tool.

I’m a pantser – I’ve been trying to convert to more of a plotter but so far it’s been as effective as trying to climb a mountain of Jell-o.  I was asked not too long along by a new writer as a pantser what kind of planning do I do?

Well, the answer is very little.  I do more of record keeping as I write.  The one thing I do is describe my characters. I do this on index cards. The main and reoccurring secondary characters each have their own cards while I keep a ‘master’ list of all characters on another card. 

Depending on the length of the story, I use different ways of keep track of them.  For full length I use 3-ring binders. For novellas over 20,000, I use the 3-prong folders. For short novellas, like the one I wrote for Christmas, I do something like this….(click on the pic for a closer look and description)

Because I’m a VERY visual person so whatever I use will have some sort of pictures on it. For this novella the front is for pictures that inspire the story. I hang it on the corkboard I have by computer so when I settle down to write I look at it and the muse takes over.  On the back I have index cards for the characters, the blurb, promo ideas & blog dates, and submission info (including the guidelines, publisher website, and e-mail addy).  I also have a very ‘loose’ summary typed up – I usually keep these somewhere between 100 to 150 words. It’s meant to just keep me from diving too keep into rabbit holes.

Once this novella is completed and submitted, I take this down and file it until I hear back. If it’s rejected, I update the submission info with the second publisher I send it to.  I will also use it when doing edits. Reading over the character cards brings those characters back into focus and I find I can do the edits much easier and quicker.

So there is a pantsers form of plotting for a short novella….


3 comments on “Writer’s Wednesday

  1. I am a panster. I’ve tried making notes, but then never use them. I am in a series and know the characters like they are friends. I let them help me write their story and when they go quiet I know something isn’t right. I had to take 18,000 words out of my current story because it wasn’t working. I change the angle and now it is flying. I did save those precious words just in case…

    • I did a young adult series but I still needed some ‘refreshers’ of eye and hair color. Their personalities I didnt need refreshers on but without at least their eye color written down I’d have characters with all brown eyes. Haha. My notes rarely include story details….

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