The Eternal Question

Plotters ask questions first. They outline, they plan, they process. Plotters have there, um,notes stuff together and know where they’re headed. They surround themselves with filled notebooks then write. Give or take a bit here and there.

Pantsers are the opposite. They write almost as if they’re the reader, just as surprised by characters’ antics. There is no plan, no outline, no idea where they’re headed. They just write and maybe ask questions later.

My name is Pacifika and I’m a pantser – to the core.typer-584696_640

I’m finding that my difficulty with pantsing is that novels are huge, unwieldy things that are far more difficult to edit than were my collage essays.

The Holly Lisle* Flash Fiction program has you come up with lists of ideas to begin. Pretty cool, but I had a hard time writing from them. Turns out it’s the way my brain works. Once I’ve put it on paper, I’m done with it. It’s old and I’ve lost interest – time to move on to something new. But I can bang out an awesome little flash fiction piece in my pantser way.

The question was, How will I get better? How will I learn to organize better, make my stories tighter, if I don’t adopt some plotter techniques.

The answer came to me at random. (Yea! for my random brain.) I won’t totally bore you with the details, I’ll just say, in my youth, I began writing first and outlining after. (Shh, don’t tell Ms. Bell. She’ll flip.) Total pantser behavior.

Now it’s just a matter of reversing the plotter process. Write first, ask questions later. My next steps will be taking what I’ve learned and going over my stories. (Ugh! Yes, it means I have to go over what I’ve already done, put off the new and exciting, but I actually love my stories. My passion shows up in my pantsing as opposed to when I tried to plot.) (Hmm, that didn’t sound awkward at all)

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Are you a pantser or a planner? Have you ever tried to do the opposite? How did it turn out?

*If you haven’t done it yet, check out Holly Lisle’s writing lessons. She has at least one free and it’s a great place to start. Also check your library’s online list of digital resources for access to Gale University for any writing classes by Steve Alcorn. They are in-depth for helping you work out why you write and what to write.

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Whoooooo Aaaaarrrre Yoooouuuu?

CheshireCat

(Yes, Cheshire cat is Horrifying but I had to credit the quote, my title. And this one was less frightening than the others.)

Sit down.
You heard me, sit.
I’ve got startling news for you, and you’re going to wish you were sitting if you don’t.

Okay, now take a deep breath.
No, deeper than that.
Come on, suck that oxygen in, cuz you’re going to need it for your brain to take in what I’m about to say.
Now take two more.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.
Oooooooouuuuuut.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.
Oooooooouuuuuut.

YOU are a writer.
Oh yeah, that’s right. I’ll say it again in a little different way.
You ARE a writer.
Once more.
You are a WRITER.

Are you with me so far?
I know the doubt. I’ve had it too. It comes about, slinking in when you’re not looking, like the neighbor cat. It curls up on the rug in front of your mental fireplace and you think “How cute.” Then when you’re not looking it scratches the furniture, shreds your certainty. Darn neighbor cat.

Okay, You and I, writers.
You know what convinced me?
A quote that I can’t find. I looked. I found some other, wonderful and inspiring quotes but not the one I was looking for. Ah, the internet Rabbit Hole and the difficulty of modern research. LOL

Take this one instead

Real Writer

Got it? Do you see what I’m saying now?

You are a writer. 😀 Now WRITE! (or edit if that’s what you’re doing for CampNaNoWrimo.)

Remember, if you are doing CampNaNoWriMo.org this April, nanomail Pacifika and ask for an invitation to our local SpokaNano cabin. See you all at the lake.

To Journal or not to Journal Part 1

journalBlah, blah, blah journal.

That was my view. But I kept hearing that it was really good for the brain and sorting mental and emotional clutter. Basically a big bucket you can dump all of the random garbage that blathers in your head. (Or am I the only one with that problem?)

And of course it’s “so important” for writers, so I decided to try.

You’d think it would be intuitive but I need to know what the rules are before I do something so I got online and took a class*.

I was surprised that there are a lot of different types of journaling and different exercises. It’s not just “sit down, bare your soul on paper, hope no one reads it.” You can do a Gratitude Journal (useful for accentuating the positive in your life), lists (great for clarifying), unsent letters (excellent way of giving your older siblings “what for” without hurting their feelings or getting your butt kicked). There are others and all have different outcomes and uses.

You may have heard of Julia Cameron and her book The Artists Way. (Don’t panic! journalcatYou, as a writer are an artist, but don’t let that stop you. Deep breath. You don’t have to be a hoity-toity “artiste.”) She suggests “morning pages” which is just free writing three pages first thing in the morning. Just babble and that’s it.

I did a technique called “Dialogues” and it was an enlightening experience which I’ll make you sit through in another post. Mwahahaha.

Have you journaled? How long have you done it? Has it helped you quiet the brain and focus?

* Spokane County Library District (scld.org) is partnered with Gale University to give its patrons an astoundingly wide variety of free and awesome classes. Check them out when you have a moment.

Happy April First!

Ah, spring, when a girl’s mind turns to car maintenance.

I want to share with you the fine art of changing the oil. Pay very close attention as these steps are critical to the proper function of your vehicle.

1. Go to a reputable oil change business; local or chain works.

2. Pay them to do the job.

3. Do not let them talk you into paying them to change your blinker fluid or the muffler bearings. You can do those yourself.

(I just couldn’t put up the truly serious and important bits on April Fool’s Day so look at the previous (yesterdays) post for the real one.)

jester

Remember, if you are doing CampNaNoWriMo this April, nanomail Pacifika and ask for an invitation to our local SpokaNano cabin. See you all at the lake.

(Happy Campers are we, having fun ‘neath the trees…)