Today we have a new release announcement. No, not mine this time. It’s the new book by a friend. And she has a guest post and a giveaway! You can find out more about her book during the blog tour and find all the links here. Read on for more info.
“Plantsing”, Or How I Finally Wrote a Full-Length Novel
I’m a short writer. 5’ 4” tall, author of two middle-grade books under 15,000 words, and writer of numerous short stories.
I’d always hoped to someday write a full-length novel, but the dream far away and out of reach.
Me, a “Pantser”
I’ve long adhered to the writing method commonly known as “pantsing”, named for the expression “flying by the seat of your pants”. Basically, I would get an idea, let it develop into a few vague scenes, including a beginning and possibly an end. Then I would write to find the story, the theme, and the message. It’s quite fun, actually—-almost like reading someone else’s book. It also leaves a lot of room for the Holy Spirit to bring in life lessons, which is an amazing experience.
Unfortunately, the longer the story, the messier and more problematic pantsing gets. It worked well for being a short author, but if I wanted to write anything longer…
The Wonderful World of Plotters
In the early days of my writing journey, my parents bought me K. M. Weiland’s book Structuring Your Novel. After reading it and two of her novels written according to this same method, I was pretty sold on the idea. Her books are compelling, riveting, and flow effortlessly.
But I had one minor qualm… If I planned every scene, every moment, every character, every twitch of story, wouldn’t that smash the creative process?
If I were on a road trip and wanted to take the scenic route to my destination, I’d still need a map to help me ensure I made it to the right place. This is how I decided to treat plotting my novel–just a map, not an assigned route. I took everything I liked about plotting and everything I liked about “pantsing” and merged them to be my own version of a real method called “plantsing”.
Using 5 Secrets of Story Structure (a less overwhelming, shorter presentation of Weiland’s method) as my guide, I got a fresh piece of paper and numbered the lines. One line = 1,000 words = one scene. I wrote down the eight major plot points that are key to a novel, then filled in the lines between. The less important scenes followed easily since I knew where I was going with the story. All that remained was to figure out how to get from one major plot point to the next. I wrote down a short sentence for each scene explaining what needed to happen in it but nothing more.
The Moral of This Story
This ended up being the perfect system…for me personally.
Because I had a very bare bones outline, it was easy to see what was gonna work and what wouldn’t even before I had started writing. My third plot point—-the big “all is lost” moment before the climax—-changed twice before I had written it. It was as simple as reevaluating my story, erasing that line, and writing in the new idea. 😉 No major cutting of scenes or rewriting!
I also found it highly motivating to pick out a scene, write it, and know I was that much farther through the novel. Sometimes I would even start brainstorming the next scene for my upcoming writing session. 😉 This removed many of the doubts about whether or not my story was any good or if the plot was wandering, leaving me the freedom to focus on crafting compelling scenes and conveying my message. 😀
Because, despite what I’d feared, it was still a very creative process. 😉 Each plot point only told me what needed to happen not how, which left a ton of room for some fun brain play. 😉
My first draft also turned out more usable than any I’d ever written before, and I’m very pleased with this method. I’ll definitely be using it again.
So, whether you’re a plotter, a “pantser”, a “plantser”, or a dwarf who lives in a cave with your pet typewriter and survives solely on chocolate mushrooms, find the method that works best for you and don’t be afraid of a little structure. 😉
About the Book
Kiera is looking forward to her eighteenth birthday. The official end of school, a party with her best friend, and chocolate cake. A sudden military draft, no possible exemptions, had never crossed her mind.
Kiera is terrified! Getting drafted would mean leaving her family, her little friend Jade—life as she knows it.
A surprising offer from Brennan Stewart just might be the answer to her prayers, but an even worse trial leaves her with one question…
If God truly loves her, why did this tragedy happen?
Add the book to Goodreads.
About the Author
Kate Willis has been homeschooled her whole life in a loving family that values the Gospel of Jesus Christ, creativity, and thoughtful conversations. She is inspired by red shoes, a good story, little children, and chai tea. It is her desire to serve God in the home having a family of her own in the future. She is the author of The Treasure Hunt, The Twin Arrows, and two short stories Enjoy the Poodle Skirt and Red Boots.