Thursday, May 4, 2017

Writing by the Seat of My Pants

You guys, I'm what writers call a "pantser," which means I write without really planning it out. I go where the characters take me.

Usually that works for me. But it's not really working for the project I'm working on now. I tend to get lost in the minutiae when I write. I give too much detail about things that don't really matter or that the reader can fill in without my help.

This time, I got lost. I kept writing without having a plot in mind. And you know what? It's not engaging. It's actually kind of boring.

I found a super interesting article that breaks down different plot structures and how to push forward. Even the section on "pantsers" is helpful. I'm going to try to answer some of the questions it poses in relation to my current project because I think it will help me move toward my goal: having a finished manuscript that I am proud of and that other people will enjoy reading.

Here we go:

  • What is the inciting incident that begins the story? The main character, Tess, learns that her husband, a firefighter, has died on the job.
  • What events will raise the stakes? Tess has few job skills and no way to support herself and her son, Kavan, and must find a job that helps her pay the bills and doesn't drive her crazy.
  • What does the character desire? She desires to find a career she is passionate about, much like her husband Michael, who loved his work and the opportunities it gave him to help others.
  • What does the character fear? She fears failure. She fears that she won't be good at anything and won't be able to support Kavan financially. She fears being dependent on others, primarily her mom, if she can't figure it out.
  • How will the character change? She will move from a woman who is paralyzed by her grief but who cannot afford to do nothing to someone who has found a job she is passionate about and, thanks to that crappy job, is qualified to train in that field.
  • What are some of the themes or messages I want the reader to walk away with? 
    • Pushing through failure. 
    • Finding something to be passionate about and doing what it takes to make it happen. 
    • Family love and support.

No comments:

Post a Comment