Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Changing Up Your Writing Game Plan

So awhile back I blogged about my writing process and how I was a bit of a hybrid - a plotter for the beginning and ending of the book but a bit of a pantser for the middle. Inevitably that would lead to my getting lost in the murky middle of the book for a time. Believe me when I say I don't have the energy to slog through another murky middle right now (which I am fast approaching in my current wip). There's too much messiness in my personal life for me to want to deal with a messy plot too. I barely have the time to write these days much less use that small bit of time trying to navigate my way out of the confusion that sometimes occurs in that middle. I also fear that if I leave the book for a couple of months while I mull over the middle in my head (my usual process) that I just won't get back to it. Not the way my life is going these days.

So, what to do?

Well, given my changed up personal life I've decided to change my usual writing game plan. I need to be super organized in both areas these days or I will go nuts. I'm currently on Chapter 8 and in another couple of chapters I'll be entering that murky middle. This time I'm going to be outlining each chapter before I write it. I did it with Chapter 7 and when I wrote the thing it flowed. I finished it in an hour. I've got a four hour train ride tonight. I’m going to use part of that time to try and outline the next 3 or 4 chapters and then write them. Now because it's the middle of the plot I know I'm going to have to throw in a few curve balls in there to mess up my heroine's life even more. I have no idea what they'll be. I have no idea if outlining a murky middle is just as frustrating as trying to write through a murky middle. But sometimes changing up your writing game plan can give you a needed fresh perspective on your story - and writing in general. And isn't fresh always way better than murky? Who knows? Maybe I'll be converted to the dark side and become a full-on plotter.

How about you? Have you plotters tried pantsing and vice-versa? More importantly, were you converted or did you stick to your tried and true methods - no matter how frustrating they might be at times for you?

I'll be away from the blog for a few days but I look forward to reading your thoughts when I get back. In the meantime, happy murk-free writing everyone!


  1. I'm a plotter and I tried pantsing and it was totaly epic failure. A few gems but most would have to be rewritten because I had no real direction. But when I plot, I still deal with the murky middle but I get it all out of the way when I'm plotting. So, when I sit down to write I know where I'm going and I still leave lots of room for creative flexibility! Hope the plotting works for you!

  2. Hi Laura: I may very well be converted to full time plotter. It's a bit more work up front but it does make the actual writing easier. I'm still going slowly through this middle but I think that has more to do with the circumstances of my day to day life right now than any problems adapting to a new method.