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?
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. 😉