Lost at Sea

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I’ve always been jealous of writers who could think about a story then sit down and write it. You know, no plotting out red herrings and unrelated secrets, no writing up long and complicated character statements, just thinking about a story then sitting down and writing it.

Some time last year I read a fabulous profile of Lee Child. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. You can access it here. Child is very much a “pantser” — he doesn’t plot out his books in advance. He says in the article that when he ends one chapter, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.

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Our very own Janis Patterson, fellow Lady of Mystery, wrote something similar on her blog last week. How exciting! To play out a story in your head as you write it. I can see why these writers’ books are exciting, thrilling, fun to read.

Me? I’ve got note cards, Word docs, downloaded files. I use Scrivener and all the complex tools it offers to organize and reorganize your plot. (As an aside, I recommend Scrivener for all writers who, like me, benefit from the help of plotting tools).

As many of you know, I’m working on book 5 in the Adam Kaminski mystery series. This time, after doing some preliminary plotting, I thought, why not? Let’s give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen?

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Yeah. That.

Needless to say, I had to go back. Re-plot. Re-organize. Redevelop and rename characters.

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The sitting down and writing experience, as glorious as it sounds, is just not for me. At least now I know. When you’re a plotter, embrace it!

Jane Gorman’s books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.

Learn more at her website, JaneGorman.com.

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About janegorman

Mystery writer
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7 Responses to Lost at Sea

  1. Where would any of us be without a sense of adventure . . . and a sense of humor?!! Loved your post, Jane! –kate

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  2. ambfoxx says:

    Great illustrations. I’m revising a book I totally “pantsed” and I’m stunned that it has a pretty tight plot. In fact, that’s the problem. Everything is woven into everything else. And yet it’s too long, even for me. Maybe I should plot and see if my ship sinks or floats. That can be my adventure for the next book.

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  3. patyjag says:

    Jane, I do a little of both. I know my main characters for a story, where it will start, where it will end, and a couple of turning points, but the rest comes to me as I write, including making of the small bit characters and the even some of the red herrings that I hadn’t thought of before hand. It is amazing how each writer executes the way in which they write a story. Good post!

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  4. I’m a plotter too. I started “pantsing” my fourth book but at page 50 I had to throw out much of what I had and start over. My new WIP is at a point where I need to stop and work out the rest of the plot before I go forward. Outlines also help me write when I’m tired–I don’t have to think about what to write because I already know where I’m going. Thanks for the post! Plotters unite!

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