Of Head Space and Stubborn Characters
I am attempting to outline my next project, book 3 in the Celestial Surrender series, tentatively titled Tangled Intrigue. I tend to start with a character, usually the heroine. I did so for this project. Adira made herself at home in my head, giving me glimpses of who she is. Then I got together with two fellow authors and friends and we brainstormed some ideas of what happens to Adira. We had a lot of fun and some great ideas. I felt I had more of a grip on her and what the story would be about.
Hah! Then I got home and tried to put the ideas together. She was having none of it. Every idea I presented was kicked to the curb. She is standing in my head, arms crossed over her chest, wearing her Sentinel uniform, heavily armed, and is tapping her foot at me. Basically she’s telling me to get my act together and stop attempting to push her into a story where she doesn’t fit.
Unfortunately she’s not giving me any hints on what would be acceptable and the hero is a total mystery. I am not a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of her pants;). I need an idea of where I’m going, what I’m trying to achieve. And Adira is making things a little difficult;).
Then Gina X. Grant (her upcoming book has just been mentioned in RT;) asked me what I’ve read lately. She suggested that when she wrote a certain story she immersed herself in similar stories by other writers.
And that totally clicked with me. I have been reading a lot of YA or 9-12, a couple of sexy romances and am now reading a book on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize. Not a single erotic story in sight. No wonder my head space is all over the place and not coming together. I’ve pulled out a stack of my favourite sexy books and will work my way through them. Hopefully that will give the story a kick up the backside and Adira will stop tapping her foot;).
How do you plan your stories? Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Or like me a Plantser?
Posted on August 9, 2012, in blog, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
I’m a plotter, definitely. Sometimes. My characters are clearly defined before I start, and I like to know where I’m heading. I confess, I make lists, draw maps, and rough out the details first, so when I finally let my people out, I just stand back assuming they will follow my script. I love it when they surprise me with their wit and wickedness. Isn’t that the best part of writing?
Oh absolutely. I love it when my characters come together and surprise me. Unfortunately Adira is not in a sharing mood;). Maybe I need to do things differently for this story and just write. I have the first page and then stopped because I wanted to plot the rest. Hm, maybe try something new…
I outline the hell out of my books (or the Hell into my books, depends on where they’re set ;-D). I’ve got time charts, character charts, plot charts… But lately, I’ve been doing narrative outlines of 5- and 6,000 words, the first 2,000 all being backstory, sometimes multi-generational, that will influence the book, but not appear in the book other than passing reference.
It’s the story of the story.
And yet, when I go to write, all sorts of stuff appears I hadn’t planned on so I get the best of plotting and pantsing. Works for me!
It used to work for me, too. Somehow this book is different. Hopefully it will work itself out;).