Panster and Proud

I’ve been an advocate of pantsing (writing without an outline) for a while, but I’ve hit a roadblock—probably THE roadblock—for this method of writing: I don’t have an ending. Or, I did (and liked it!) but when I read through it on my fourth (fifth?) editing round, I discovered how TRULY anti-climatic it was and how everything settled nicely into place. Too nicely. Almost Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn easy. No big fight. No nibbling on nails to know how it’s going to end. Everything just kind of… worked out.

Who wants to read that?

NO ONE.

Now I’m faced with the sucky part of the pantsing lifestyle: finding the missing obstacle. The story itself hasn’t changed; the ending is still the ending. But I need to make it harder to get to which means interweaving a new obstacle or broadening the current one (I tried that, but my characters didn’t seem to go for it). So, new obstacle it is.

I went back and forth on whether I should leave the (okayish) ending or chance a rewrite and rework a good portion of the story I’ve been writing since the beginning of last year. Not a long time in the scheme of things, but it usually takes me about a year to produce a decent project and I’m already past my own deadline, so to rework stuff would push it out even farther out. Then I thought—psshh, who cares? I’m not letting anyone read it. (This is the same lie I tell myself with every book. Helps diminish anxiety so I can write for myself and not the audience.) I was okay with no one reading it until I realized I’d be letting the characters down. They depend on me to tell their story, after all. What kind of author would I be if I didn’t tell it right?

So, I’m reworking BTT.

But it’s going to be BETTER.

SO MUCH BETTER.

Pansters, I wanted to share this with you so if you ever reach a point where you have to double back and maybe cut out a lot of awesome stuff for even MORE AWESOME STUFF, don’t let it get you down. It happens. And don’t let a plotter swoop in and convince you that this is why you need to outline. You don’t. You just have to believe in your choices and trust yourself. Trust your characters and trust the process.

If you do that, you’re golden. 😉

IWSG – Who’s a quitter?

I missed last month which makes me lame.

I know.

I almost missed this month if not for the fear of being kicked out of the group, which I super rarely participate in, but still like being a part of. I never join things. Never liked it. I’m more of a social loner who prefers to be by myself, except when I don’t. Like when the trials of being a writer (or any artist) gets too much, it’s good to have a group of people who get it. People who know what you mean because it’s their struggle too.

With all that said—HA! Can’t kick me out now 😉 I’m here. I have my “Hello my name is” sticker and I’m ready to go. Point me toward the refreshment table and let’s do this.

 Did you ever say “I quit?” If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

No. I’ve never decided to quit.

I’ve teased myself with the idea before, but never fully committed. I don’t think I can. Without sounding too cheese or corny—and maybe some of you can relate—if I go too long without writing, I lose something. Some part of myself that makes me feel like me, a part that makes everything… okayish. I think if I did quit writing, I’d be this totally other person, someone I wouldn’t like, someone who, besides being incredibly attractive, wouldn’t have that spark. That excitement. The thing that makes peoples’ eyes light up.

I’m sure I’ll teeter on the idea of quitting again, at some point when something’s not going the way I planned. I may even decide to take a week off. But then the need to scratch the never-ending itch returns and the sun comes back out again.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. I’m watching 13 Reasons Why. Anyone else? Thoughts?