Following the Beacons as I Write

Posted Oct 6 2018

According to the RWA lingo, there are two kinds of writers – plotters, who plan their story out completely ahead of time, and pantsers (as in flying by the seat of your pants), who just jump in and write. The classic description of a pure pantser is Eloisa James’ article in Romance Writers’ Report® “Flying into the Mist”.

My writing style is something of a hybrid. I generally have the first chapter or two (the inciting incident) pretty clearly in mind before I start a new story, an outline of 2-3 major turning points, and a reasonably clear idea of how the story will end. This makes the process more like flying from beacon to beacon, with a clear destination and a clear starting point, but much vagueness in the middle.

Why explain all this? Well, this is my process and I have to own it, but it does give me lots of chances to bog down in writing a story. One place I bog down is love scenes, but that’s a story for another time. The more obvious place to bog down is all those spaces between the beacons when I haven’t a clue how my characters are going to get themselves from, say, point C to point D. In the story I’m writing now, I got so bogged down looking for how to get from one beacon to another that I had to rethink everything and ended up with one less turning point. Luckily, that change made my story much tighter, and I’ve been moving forward pretty well since then, until now.

The problem now is that I’m almost to the end of the story, and I know everything that’s going to happen and roughly how it’s going to happen. Frankly, I miss the excitement of discovering what my characters are going to do next.

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