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Creating a path to somewhere else.

Writing Update: Am I a Pantser? A Planner?

This week was a wild ride for me with migraines, deadlines and general chaos. But a kernel of something emerged from all that.

Another person on my Crime Writing course asked a question about flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to writing, so here’s my two cents on the issue.

This is perhaps very geeky of me, but weirdly the thing that stopped me from flying entirely by the seat of my pants was becoming a Dungeon Master for a Dungeons and Dragons game. Now, I still fly by the seat of my pants often. However, I also learned from being a DM that having an overarching plot, kernels of foreshadowing, and landmarks along the way to writing a story, allows me to have structure without feeling too confined.

For me, now I start with the genesis of the idea, and then I go for a really long walk. I mull it over in my head, imagine what I want to happen, play around with characters and intrigue and all those other ideas. Then, when I get home, I write down all these fragments in my notebook, and I move them around like jigsaw pieces until they fit together in a resemblance to a plot.

Then I start writing. I don’t have the whole thing mapped out, so I still surprise myself by the ways I develop ideas or characters, but I do have landmarks that I’m using to navigate my way and, well, if they change I can change them! But at least I had some idea where I was going.

This has led to much better writing than I’m used to. My prose is much easier to write when I have something that I’m aiming towards. One day I’ll learn how to get my ADHD to cooperate long enough to edit and then I’ll be living the dream.

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