Writing with the Subconscious

writers subconscious (002)In general, we often hear there are two types of writers: pantsers and plotters. Pantsers write by the “seat of their pants,” tend not to plan very much, and let the story grow organically. Plotters plan out the story more, using outlines, story boards, or summary chapters. As with all writing, there is no one correct way, no right or wrong, just whatever works for any particular writer. Continue reading “Writing with the Subconscious”

Writing the Book You Plan – Or Not

goat-620474_960_720Okay, I’ll preface this whole thing by admitting that I am a pantser. (Dang MS Word keeps wanting to change that to punster. Hmmm…) I do not outline, I do not do chapter synopses, I do not like green eggs and ham. (Sorry; keep getting sidetracked.) I may not know where the end or even the middle of my book is going to go. I get attacked by an idea, let it stew for a bit (anywhere from hours to days) and if it doesn’t evaporate with the morning coffee, I sit down and start writing.

So it may not be surprising that my books often end up being very different from what I thought they were going to be. Continue reading “Writing the Book You Plan – Or Not”

Busting the Pantster vs Plotter Myth

We humans seem to thrive on dichotomies. Descartes kick-started the mind/body dichotomy with his famous thought experiment in which he concluded ‘I think, therefore I am’.

In the last century, psychologists came up with the nature/nurture myth, and spent decades trying to work out what was more important to the development of a human being – nature, in the form of genetics, or nurture, in the form of social conditioning.

In recent years, science has busted both those myths. Human beings are neither mind, nor body, they are both, and their development depends on both their genetic heritage, and the effect of conditioning on that heritage.

Yet we, as authors, still insist on classifying our creative style as either pantster or plotter. And I have been as guilty of this as anyone. Ever since I first heard the term ‘pantster’ I’ve considered myself to be one. In fact, I couldn’t understand how anyone could sit down and outline a story from start to finish. Worse, I secretly felt that Plotters must create very predictable storylines.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

The truth is we are both Pantsters and Plotters, or at least we should be. Continue reading “Busting the Pantster vs Plotter Myth”

Character Arcs — Or, Where Were You Going With That Series?

What happens when you write a book and either people like the characters so much they ask you to continue writing about them, or the story’s too big for just one book and it turns into more than one? Well that, my friend, is what’s called a series.

Writing a series is a good way for a writer to establish him or herself in the heart and mind of a reader. If readers like the first book, then they’re more apt to purchase the second and so on. Plus, the writer begins to know and understand the main character (or characters) and is able to delve further into what makes them tick, bringing a depth to them that wouldn’t be possible in the length of one book.

Which brings us to the concept of character arc. In fiction, readers expect the character to change in some way by the end of the book. Change in protagonist = character arc. For example, if the protagonist starts out shy and insecure, then by the end of the story they should have at least given that character more confidence. But how do you handle character arc across an entire series?

That’s a bit tricky. Continue reading “Character Arcs — Or, Where Were You Going With That Series?”