Planner vs. Panster

There are three different types of authors: the planners (plotters), the pansters (fly by the seat of your pants), and those inbetween. I am an inbetweener. When I can, I plot out the major points of what needs to happen to keep my brain focused on what needs to happen and when, just so I don’t forget anything. The panster part comes in when I have holes between these plot points and don’t know how to get from point A to point B. I know my characters will know how to get there once I reach the point of this “black hole” in the plot. Every time they get me through.

However, they also know how to throw me a curve ball. Like today, I’m working on “Redemption”, Book 4 of The Weregal Chronicles, when who should show up? Not one, but TWO new characters! I did not see that coming. All of a sudden a car door opened and here they are! What car? Who knows! There wasn’t even supposed to be a car!

This new little scenario now fixes parts of the plot where I had holes, so it worked out well! It’s also not the first time that this has happened to me, and it won’t be the last! Several of the best ideas for the books have come through pantsing my way through each novel and watching as the characters change plot points or add to them, or just throw me a curve ball.

I know that it sounds weird that the characters do this, but honestly, they’re the ones telling the story. I’m the one who’s writing it down as they tell it.

Well, back to writing for me! Got to figure out where these new characters came from and where they’re heading!!

Attention: Change Ahead!!

Change AheadHello! And welcome to my website! After thinking long and hard about what to do with it, I’ve decided to change it up a bit. Right now I’m using it as I do my social media sites as a place to drop my book info (like sales, new releases, KU updates), and that’s not working for me. By the time I post the updates all over social media, the last place I want to put it is my website for another promo dump. So, with that being said, I’ve decided to change up the format a bit and share my writing experiences, as sort of an author’s journal. If you want the behind the scenes of my books, tips I’ve found along the way, and struggles that I’m going through, then this is the place! I can’t promise to offer anything massively insightful, but at the least some of it should be entertaining. 😉

So to start this off, I want to talk a little about “First Christmas”, my upcoming novel. If you don’t know, it’s available for preorder right now and releases on July 8th. I’m super excited for it! For more info, check out the “Books” tab.

When I set out to write a Christmas novel, the one stipulation I had for myself was that I wanted it to be different. So many of the Christmas books and movies out there either are retellings of the same Christmas story or one of the “we have to save Christmas” types. Maybe I haven’t read a wide enough genre, but those seem to be the big hits, especially if the story is based at the North Pole. I wanted to avoid those storylines at all cost.

The edition that is being published isn’t the original. I was about 25k words into the story (so about a third through it) when I decided that the direction the story was heading wasn’t what I wanted. It had a depressing and angry undertone because of some events that took place right at the beginning. For that reason, I trashed all of it but one scene (which found a home in the next edition) and started from scratch. Same characters, new plot. The further along the new story went, the better it became and the happier I was that I’d chosen to junk the first try.

As a writer, this can happen a lot. At least to me. It’s depressing to have wasted those hours on the first edition when I could have been so much further to the end if I hadn’t changed my mind. However, it was necessary. It didn’t feel like a Christmas story, which was what I was shooting for (obviously). I was fighting the story, and the story was fighting me. I have this happen a bit as I write, but it’s usually small scenes that I have to dump and start over, not thousands of words I’ve spent hours working on.

With a new plot and some character tweaking, I was ready to roll on the next edition. The story wrote smoother and I was able to have much more fun with it. New, more fun character traits began to appear, and the Christmas spirit was able to come out of it. Now, there is some action in it. It’s not all happy and joyful (after all, there are dragon shifters and you can’t have a dragon in a book without some form of action), but for the most part there is a happy spirit about the book. I was also able to throw in some family friendly themes about what is important in our lives, which I hadn’t been able to do with the first edition.

Overall, I love this book much more than I did when it first began. It could be that some events that happened in my life when I first began the beginning influenced the tone of the book. An unpleasant experience in my writing career occurred about the time the story was in its beginning stages of writing, which could be part of the cause. If that’s the case, then I’m glad I dumped the first edition, shedding it like an old skin and getting the taste out of my mouth, as they say.

If you get a chance to read “First Christmas” after it releases, I hope you enjoy it! I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music and watching plenty of Christmas movies to keep me in the spirit. I do wish that was out of the ordinary for me, though, but it’s not. More on that later!

Well, that’s all for now, folks! Tune in again for more behind the scenes info on my writing!