Sunday, September 11, 2011

That's How I Roll, Baby

This weekend, Allison Brennan was at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Conference.  And I missed it - again.  One of these days, I'll see her give her ever-changing No Plotters Allowed speech - wherein she gives the very important message "There is no one right way to write, but there is a right way for you."

I'd even go one further - at least for my process - and add 'there's a right way for you and each of your books'.  Because for me, every book's journey from start to finish is different.  Hell, sometimes every draft takes a different journey because what worked for me on one draft doesn't necessarily work on the next.

Like Allison, I'm not a plotter.  I've tried that and it sucks the voice right out of my work.  I'm also not really a pantser, per se.  Most of the time, I do know where I'm headed - even if the end destination can change.  I call myself a plansterer.  (i.e. plot a little, plan a little, pants a lot)  It works for me.

Sometimes I wish it worked a little more uniformly, but hey, that's how I roll, baby.  I'm all over the place - that is as much so as one who writes linearly can be.  Linear is about the only rule I stick to.  My brain doesn't work when the string is jumbled. 

Anyway, like I was saying, my process is different for every book and sometimes for every draft.  It's not necessarily the most efficient way to work, but it does work.  Take the WIP Djinnocide.  She's an ugly beast.  She's also the product of my 2009 NaNo - I think... wait let me check...  Yup.  Started in September of '09, but didn't really get rolling until November. 

Draft 1 - wrote straight through, no stopping.
Draft 2 - tweaked here and there
Draft 3 -  tweaked here and there - began to hate it a little
Draft 4 - sent to CP and betas - they liked it a little, and I hated it more
Draft 5 - added words and tried a different tack - still hated it
Draft 6 - total rewrite, changing POV from third limited to 1st
Draft 7 - tiny tweaking until around chapter 4 and then started over
Draft 8 - Major tweaking and reader input
Draft 9 - Polishing
Draft 10 - Final Draft - totally polished - love it love it.  Ready to query.

I finished the tenth draft a year ago.  We won't go into how it fared during the query phase.  Suffice it to say, if it had done well, I wouldn't still be kvetching about it.

So now, last night, I started the 11th draft - which would, in reality, be Do-Over #3.  I found my groove, I think, with the way this draft wants to be approached.  Too bad for me, the groove is hand-written in a notebook.  I only got one page of printed manuscript rewritten yesterday.  At this rate, it could be next year before I'm done.  Ugh.  Dirty bastard manuscript.

But if that what it takes to get this damn book done, I'll do it.  'Cuz that's how I roll, Baby.  ;o)


  1. Plansterer. Awesome. I am a total pantster, and I cuss myself about half way through every time. But I find it so difficult to plan, and when I do, it never follows through. I think I could aim for this plansterer thing, though.

  2. Ha! I love plantserer, too! I am the same in that my process is different for each book. I'm discovering that right now (I'll actually be posting about it later in the week).

    Way to go on the edits! Even though it feels slow now, it's progress! Editing is a dirty bastard, that's for sure.

  3. I'm a plotter, but even my plotting changes with each book I write. I heavily pants the scenes so I'm a bit of both really--I heard somebody say that means I'm a "pantyliner"--*snort*

  4. You're writing processes seem so much like my own, right down to the endlessly multiple drafts of drafts of drafts of final copies of drafts of maybe-final-copies. 8)