Monday, May 24, 2010

Flying into the mists . . .without an airplane or a parachute

When it comes to the two writing camps—plotter VS pantzer, I have always been completely, 100% on the plotter side of the fence. No wiggle room there what-so-ever. Before I’d even sit down to write that first chapter I’d have the WIP figured out from start to finish. I’d know the opening, (or at least think I did, most of the time I’d end up changing the opening after the first draft) I’d know the middle and I’d know the end.

Of course there would be surprises along the way, threads that would leap up and snare me, characters that would go off on little tangents acting totally different than I would ever have expected—but I always had a road map to find my way to the finish line.

Until back in late February, when I came down with a nasty head cold and started medicating the shit out of myself to enable night-time sleepy-sleep. I must have over dosed on the cough meds one night because I had the most vivid, incredibly visual dream. A dream that felt so real, I thought it had actually happened when I first woke up. And then I thought—MY GOD, that would make a kickass opening scene to a book. And because I couldn’t get that scene out of my head, I sat down and wrote it.

It just flew with absolutely no effort onto the screen and from that very first scene the characters fairly leapt off the page.

In retrospect, my first BIG mistake was letting that scene out.

At the time I was working on a different book, I’d already finished the first draft and had revisions complete up through chapter eight—which was close to 50% of the way through.

But once I let Zane and Beth out of the box they grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. I had no interest in the current WIP- I was consumed by my dream people. I suppose this would have been just hunky-dory if there had been an actual PLOT to go along with my vivid dream people. But no such luck.

I knew what was happening in the scene, but I had no idea why, no idea where it was going from there, no idea who the villains were or why they were doing what they were doing. I was quite literally lost.

For the first time I was flying into the mist and I hated it. So I screamed a SOS to writing buddies and Crit partners and they came forth and rallied around me and helped me plot out the first two chapters. Whew *wipes sweat off brow* I knew where I was going again. So I wrote hose two chapters and promptly got stuck again. So I screamed another SOS and more brainstorming ensued and I was able to write the next chapter. Only to get stuck again. And so on and so forth.

I have just finished the fifth chapter in this book and finally the rest of the plot has fallen into line. I know how it’s going to end, I’ve got a solid handle on several scenes in the middle. I feel much more comfortable with the whole process again.

Unfortunately, there are two very sexy, secondary male characters that are apparently going to be getting their own books. How do I know? Well, I dreamed their openings—again—minus the plot, minus the bad guy, minus the whys and the hows…just the characters.

Why? Oh why? Is my muse punishing me like this?


  1. I wish my muse would punish me like that. I'm resurrecting an old book, and now that I've decided to do this, I'm being bombarded with new ideas and characters. I love it! When I do get an idea for a scene, I type out my idea and put it in my file for future books.

    It's great that yours was so strong you felt compelled to write their story. When you're done, you'll go back to your previous book with a fresh mind. It's all good.

  2. Think of it as broadening your horizons - balancing your craft. :-)

    For me at least, coming down somewhere in between pantzer & plotter has been the key...not being too rigid, but not just going willy-nilly either. It's made me a better writer.

    Good luck - I bet with that much passion behind your "dream stories" they can't help but turn out well, no matter how crazy they drive you getting there. ;-)

  3. Edie,

    The big plan at the moment is to finish Zane's book and then jump back over to the other WIP. Or, if I get stuck on something in Zane's to jump back over to the other one until I'm unstuck.

    This weekend a friend mentioned that light-hearted and humorous books are on the rise again. That agents and editors are asking for them. Good news for both of us.

    I was tempted for a bit to switch back over to the first WIP which is the light-hearted humorous one. Zane's is a sexy RS. But while I was waffling I asked myself what would happen if I happened to sell both books. Both are the first book in a series. So if I could only work on one series, which would I want to work on? Zane's won with no waffling at all. Those characters are the ones I want to concentrate on. I just really, really love the heroes in this series. They are so very sexy. *g

  4. hey Jamie,

    That's exactly what I told myself, that this new process would stretch my abilities. I'm still telling myself Not sure it's working though.

    But you are certainly right about the passion being there. I think this is the most excited, passionate I've ever felt about one of my books.