I’ve been down here for a while now, at the bottom of this deep, dark well. Fumbling around, shouting and screaming without anyone hearing my cries. Okay, you’re wondering if I’ve gone mad, or perhaps I’m writing an opening very badly.
Wrong on both counts, I’m talking about being a ‘Panster’. A what - you say? A panster, someone, who writes by the seat of their pants, without any planning or forethought of where they are going, I imagine some of you know exactly what I’m referring to here.
It’s served me well in the past. After all, there is nothing more exciting than going on a journey of discovery with your characters, is there? Except, I seem to have fallen down a well. I’ve lost my way, the plot is becoming clumsy, and some characters are doing their own thing, which I might not have minded in a different story. However, in this novel, where it’s hard enough to hold lots of information in my head as it is, I really don’t want secondary characters taking over the show. I might let them have their own novel later.
The solution, because there has to be one, doesn’t there? I mean I need to get out of this well, and get back to civilization. Which in my case, is regularly writing and getting the first draft completed. So the solution which has been burning at the back of my brain while I’ve been shuffling around in the dark, is to make an outline.
There, I’ve said it now, that dirty word us pansters hate to hear. Outline. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? Some of you are brilliant at it, you make a plan. A who, what, where, when and why, plan. And then off you go and write it all out. So, how am I going to get out of the well?
Well, I just did. I cried, and I shouted, before I realized there was someone already at the top, who threw me down a rope, it was another writer. In fact, several were there. They pulled me up, tugging on the rope; they hauled me over the side. Offering advice on how to get out of this mess.
I’m amazed at how generous you’ve all been. I opened my mouth, on Twitter, and hollered. You heard and I learnt I wasn’t alone. Lots of you admitted you’ve come up against the same issues and feelings of frustration.
I visited your blogs for advice, and you took the time to reply to me. Tweets passed back and forth, and I spoke with a buddy and he listened.
Thank you all.
And if anyone else out there can tell me how they outline – all ideas are most welcome. So come on, how do you do it then?