Pantsing in Dizzy Circles

Pantsing in Dizzy Circles
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I’ve been going around in circles all weekend about my writing. I feel as though I’m spinning in one place about to go out of control. Until this last Saturday, I had felt I was getting somewhere, although kind of woozily. I’m in the process of writing five different stories. Not one has gone beyond the one-third mark, the beginning where almost everyone and the circumstances that start the story are introduced.

In one story, I’m almost there, the middle section. I’ve introduced all the characters, the norms, and most of the relationships. However, I don’t quite have all the pieces needed to go forward with the main plot.

In another story, I’ve gotten as far as introducing all the good guys and their norms. Still, I’ve just barely touched on the two bad guys so far, and I haven’t even thought how to show the situation that starts every tale off.

I have two stories where I’m not even past the first chapter. Usually this is the easiest part for me. Nonetheless, I’m struggling to the point of almost screaming with these two.

The fifth one isn’t even a page long yet. I keep on thinking about the other four stories instead. I feel guilty for not trudging along with one of them, just one to prove I can do it.

I want to be a pantser. It seems like the easiest way to go for me. I just sit my butt in the chair and start writing or typing.

However, recently I wondered if I should be a plotter instead. It takes so much preparation before the writer even get to the part when she or he starts writing chapter one. Yet, by doing the preliminary stuff, she or he knows where the story is going all the way through to the end.

I’ve been told that many pantsers end up writing more rewrites than plotters. I wasn’t told why, however. I’m thinking that the reason is a pantser ends up having to reconstruct the basis of the story two or more times, where the plotter doesn’t. The plotter has his or her outline, pegboard, and graphics, which have kept the story from falling apart somewhere along the way.

Several months ago, I downloaded the free version of yWriter, a software program that helps with the outlines, virtual pegboard, and a simple graphic page to use. It keeps everything organized for the writer. All the characters can be reviewed when a tab is clicked. The locations of the story are within another tab. Still, another tab has the scenes. Chapters and scenes can be moved around in the story with ease.

As I said, I downloaded it a while ago; yet, I haven’t used it, thinking I’d be better off as a pantser. I’m sick of the never-ending tussle though. With short-term memory loss problems, pantsing my stories just isn’t going to work, I’m afraid. I so wanted to be one of those writers who could whip out a first rough draft, and then, fiddle with it until it’s as close to perfect as one can get it.

When I first started considering using this program a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t, in my heart of hearts, want to do it. I wanted to do the writing process my way. I seriously thought about giving up on the idea of writing all together. But something inside of me just won’t let that happen. I forged ahead with the blasted program.

Now that I’ve essentially worked with the program for a little while, I’m enjoying writing again. Who would have thought? I love the fact that I can start anywhere in my story, end anywhere, and be able to keep it all straight because of the configuration of this little gem.


19 thoughts on “Pantsing in Dizzy Circles

  1. I did the NaNoWriMo in 2012. I had never tried such a huge project before. I might have given up had I not talked another writer to sign up. We kept comparing word counts and I was damned if I would poop out. I have always been and am an pantzer. For this project though, I did an outline: story chapters. Later I learned one to two sentences about each chapter helps keep your focus. I completed the challenge and reached 50,250 words three days before the end of the month.

    The story wasn’t laid out exactly but I had ‘guide posts’ and focus to drive the work. One or two chapters had to be completely reworked / scrapped but i have the bones. Check out Holly Lisle’s site. She tell you how to setup chapters, how many pages, where Act 1, 2 and 3 fit. It makes life so much easier.


      1. It’s cooking. I’ve revised the first 40 or 50 pages but to work on it, I’m the type that must lock myself in limbo: no dogs, no cats, no phones, internet, blogging, e-mails. Like that. Trouble is, I get bored easily. I want to plan another trip as well for winter of 2015 and so on and so on.
        Okay. I LIKe my story but wonder if its time has passed. I thought it was timely when I started–maybe not all is lost.
        You are one encouraging soul. I have three more wonderful friends in my back pocket who have been immensely elevators. What have I done to deserve you all wonderful women? Thank you. Jacqui. Thank you for your interest. ❤


    1. Glynis Jolly

      I guess I’m doing about the same thing, guild posts. However, using the yWriter makes it so much easier. There’s a place to put in those one or two sentences for easy chapter AND for each scene.


  2. Ah, the age-old question among writers–pantsing or plotting. I’d like the wild, refreshing freedom of writing as my brains surges forward, but it just doesn’t work for me. Sigh.


    1. Glynis Jolly

      Exactly, Jacqui. Admittedly, I’m still a pantser, but with now with “sticky notes” along the way so that I don’t lose my way. 😛


  3. I generally write fiction by the seat of my pants with a rough outline of what it is I want in my head but non-fiction is a whole different ball game. lol


    1. Glynis Jolly

      Oh yes, non-fiction, I don’t think, can be done admirable without a detailed outline. There’s a certain formula for that type of writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Glynnis, thanks for the tip.
    Writing is kind of like dating. Sometimes you know right away that he’s wrong, other times it takes a while to figure out that he’s a wrong’un. If he’s wrong, don’t keep giving him your time. When he’s right, you won’t be able to stay away and you’ll be thinking about him all the time.


    1. Glynis Jolly

      What a great way to look at a writing project. I’ve given up on one of my stories. Believe it or not, it’s the one I’ve gone the farthest on. It sounds too much like a story for someone in middle school. Sure, that’s okay, but that wasn’t my intention for this particular project. I’ve put it on a high shelf. When I’m ready to do a story for young teenagers, I’ll pull it down. The one that isn’t even a page long yet I’m kind of committed to. It’s going to be based on the true story of my mom’s life. I told her I’d do it so I’m locked in on this one. :/


    1. Glynis Jolly

      I still can’t give up being a pantser but I like having the 1 or 2 sentences about the next scene written down so I stay focused. I’m enjoying using yWriter for this. 🙂


  5. Pingback: Sometimes New is Better | Speculations Impressed

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