Changing My Ways

I’ve almost always been a hard-core panster. I don’t like outlines. I barely keep track of anything going on with my stories or characters except for what’s in my head. Something about writing it down tends to destroy the urge to actually continue with the story.

On the other hand, it tends to mean I have a more work to do with my revisions. Mini-plots that went nowhere. Extra characters that are…extra. But the beauty of word processing and the multitude of edits involved with the production of a book do allow for changes to be made, often until a few weeks before actual printing. (Assuming by that point it’s small stuff. If it’s not? Well, then I’ve probably got bigger problems than a few typos.)

But, as I’m working on drafting the first issue of the web-comic (in between wrapping up the draft of A Trace of Moonlight*), I’m finding I have to plan things out a bit more than I normally do. For one thing, I have a tendency to over-complicate my plots sometimes – and while that’s okay during draft mode on something I can edit later on, I won’t have that luxury with this project.

1) I don’t want to waste the artist’s time – she has to interpret and draw up my vision for a scene, and I can’t be changing my mind back and forth too much on that. Once she’s inked it,we’re pretty much done there. (We’re going the traditional media route for this set.)

2) The medium itself is visual. It’s okay for me to clog up my own notes with complicated back story and inner dialogue, but it’s not needed on the production side. (And I’ve seen graphic novels that suffered greatly from this – too much verbal introspection or useless dialogue.) Definitely a moment where a picture really *is* worth a thousand words – but I think the key is deciding *which* of those thousand words will have the greatest impact and move things along.

3) Each “issue” should be somewhat self-contained…but the underlying story-arc will continue from piece to piece – so that means small things could have very large repercussions later on. (Which is actually something every writer needs to think about anyway – funny how what seems like a throw-away line in Chapter 1 of Book  1 is suddenly a massive deal-breaker of a rule by the end of Book 3. *eyeroll*)

So, I actually bought a copy of Scrivener the other day to see if that would help with my overall creation process. (There’s actually a script-writer portion too that I’m trying out as well.)  It’s been interesting overall – and I haven’t spent a *huge* amount of time on plotting yet since I really have to get this book finished first, but it’s good for me to start considering how I’ll need to change my thought process.

My biggest issue right now is not freezing up – I have a tendency to want things to work out perfectly on the first run of new stuff like this, but I need to give myself the time to make the basic mistakes and work out the rough edges. Learning curve and all that.

* Working title for BoD 3, tho subject to change…

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2 Responses to Changing My Ways

  1. Roni Loren says:

    Good luck! I've a reformed pantser. I still can't do those mega-detailed outlines. That gives me the shivers. BUT I read Save the Cat (it's a screenwriting book) and it totally saved me from myself. That kind of plotting made perfect sense to my pantser brain and helped me so much. I've passed the book along to other friends who had similar processes to me and they've become converts too. Might want to check it out if you haven't read it before. It might give you some options for tricking your mind into plotting. 🙂

  2. mynfel says:

    Sounds awesome – I've gone ahead and ordered it. 😀

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