Friday, 7 October 2011

By the seat of my pants...


NaNo is kind of annoying me at the moment. Every time I go there, everyone seems to be saying "YOU MUST PLAN" and "PANTSERS ARE MORONS". Of course it's impossible to write 50k in a month without spending eleven months of the year planning it, right? What kind of crazy person would try to write 50k in a month without planning the whole thing down to the positioning of the toadstool MMC accidentally crushes at the end of chapter 17?

Yeah, you can imagine how die-hard pantser Siana Blackwood feels about that...

So of course I keep trying to present the other point of view, the idea that you can write 50k (or even a fair bit more) in a month without having a plan. Only then I get irritated and start second-guessing myself...

I mean, I write the first draft in a full-screen text editor. Then I paste it into a word processor for spell-checking, read it a few times and then start making a list of what really should have happened. The list is just on a piece of paper or sometimes in a text file. I don't see the point of all the fancy writing software because I just never use all those features. If I'm happy with this basic list of software (just a text editor and a word processor), does this mean I'm not a 'real writer'? Ye Gods, I've never even written a single word while sitting in a coffee shop...

But then, so far thais year I've written:

  1. No Light in the Dark - 95k

  2. Dispersion - 120k

  3. Blade's Edge - 65k

  4. Night Without Stars - 75k

  5. Hope - 85k

  6. Dark Star - 100k

  7. Broken Mirror - 66k

  8. Crystals and Moonlight - 60k

... and started How to Nuke Your Enemies (currently 24k)

Eight completed first drafts, none of them written with expensive software, in a cafe or with months of planning in advance. I stand by my pants and by my 'write it anyway' philosophy.


To tell the truth, that's not stuff I expected to be able to say during my 12th month of wrimo-ing. The same people and the same advice were on NaNo last year and I consciously decided to disregard it and believe Chris Baty (No plot? No problem!). I haven't made the expected progression from pantsing a bad story to becoming a planner, though. I guess it's because I really do like the stories I've written. I still can't imagine editing Dispersion or Night Without Stars, because every time I start reading them the characters take over my head and I'm just living through the events along with them. Some tiny part of me knows they're the wrong events, but I really do love them anyway :).

Okay, I feel better now. Maybe I'll go and write something.

By the seat of my pants.