So I love to travel. I know it's a given for most people, like saying "I hate needles" or "chocolate is magical" but...I really do! When it's just me or me and my dear hubby, we could have no plans at all and have the grandest of times. No itinerary, schedule or tickets needed. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of...uh...flyer. Well, you know what I mean.
But I don't "pants" everything. I DON'T PANTS WRITING. I can't! I've tried and I can't. In fact, I started a new story a few weeks ago. Something fun and light(ish), no pressure or revising just yet, just that heady exhilaration of creating a new world, looking through baby name books for new characters and writing every errant thought down just in case it "fit" into the plot somehow. That's right...I figured I'd pants the while darn thing.
This time I CONSCIOUSLY put away my Scrivener and my outlining tools, my chapter by chapter drawings and my (literal) character sketches. I said to myself, "Maybe plotting takes the fun out of it. Maybe pantsing this thing will get it out in 17 days like Elana Johnson's POSSESSION or one of Natalie Whipple's infamous three week novels. I can do this. I CAN JUST WRITE." Grass is always greener, am I right?
But I got one chapter! Then another, then...nothing. Nothing whatsoever. I scraped and thought, plead with the characters and scrabbled for the setting but NOTHING. Not even the handsome hero was giving me anything (and he was the one chatting me up from the beginning!)
So I gave in. I sketched out my heroine and hero, drew the apartment, the school, the missile silos. I outlined chapter by chapter what was happening, labeling Act One, Two and Three, giving each scene a single word emotion (Fear! Dedication! Frustration! Triumph! Hunger! wait, that last one was just me...) Basically, the deepest form of OCD outlining that you can do without actually writing the dumb book.
And my brain heaved a sigh of relief. I gave it a few days to sink in...and then began to write again, literary itinerary in hand.
I've seen the other side, ladies and gents, and I'm happy to return to set up camp in PLOTTER territory. But what about you guys? Have you crossed enemy lines? Find it agreeable or scary? Were you once a plotter turned pantser or vice versa? What made you switch? Of course both are equally effective but...ISN'T PLOTTING BETTER THAN PANTSING? COME WITH ME! FOREGO YOUR PANTS FOREVER!
Uh, maybe I should phrase that differently...