Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I hope you're excited for the beginning of October, which is coming up quickly. I have always loved autumn, and Halloween in particular. Here, autumn officially began last night around 10:30, which makes me even more excited to be out of the summer season -- and hopefully the weather reflects that soon!
This will be my last "Cracking Fiction" post, because next month I'll be writing about NaNoWriMo prep to welcome in the NaNoing season. If you don't know what NaNo is, and you're a writer, or want to be writing, please check out the NaNo website. It's a very fun, free event for writers, challenging you to write 50,000 in a month, with local events and such. Sign up, and give it a try!
Also, my publishing anniversary is coming up! It's unfortunately on a Sunday, so I won't be posting on the anniversary, but that Tuesday (the 14th), I'll be penning a special post about publishing.
Anyway, enough news! Onto the post!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There are many writing styles, genres, and, arguably, many types of writers, as well -- from the recluse, the happy group writer, to the over-cafineated writer with shaking hands -- but generally we put writers into one of two major groups: the pantsers and the plotters.
In case you're unfamiliar with these terms, let me explain. The pantser is the writer who writes "by the seat of their pants", or, in other words, without plotting, outlining, etc. This writer sits down and dives in, no questions asked. The plotter, however, is, as the name would imply, the writer who likes to plot everything out. There are varying degrees of both, and many people happen to fall in between, but generally we sway one way more than the other.
I, amazingly, tend to be more of a pantser than a plotter...in one sense. I'm an analyzer and mastermind by nature (if anyone likes the MBTI test, or is familiar with it, we can attribute this, I suppose, to my "INTJness"), but I do most of my plotting mentally. I spend quite a bit of time plotting mentally, actually. But when it comes to actually writing, I most often sit down and start writing without physically writing any of my mental notes down.
For the longest time I was alright with this, but even I find that writing things down can lead to new details -- or, if nothing else, there is little room for error or forgetting. Though I'm naturally a pantser in my physical writing habits, I've started keeping a notebook in which to write down my thoughts for whatever story, and it certainly has made a difference. I often have to make myself do it, because it seems like a waste of time at first, but I've found that it's a helpful practice.
So, here are a few tips for pantsers, easy ways to do a little plotting without feeling overwhelmed.
1: Lists ~
Who doesn't love a good list? For the pantser, a list can be quite helpful, in fact. Lists are much easier to swallow than long paragraphs with minute details.
Some things to consider listing:
Character names and attributes.
Romantic, familial, or friendly ties.
A sequence of events or scenes you're interested in including.
References for characters, landscape, etc. (pictures or books that inspire you, films).
Quotes you want to include, or that inspire you.
A note on the last two: I find it's important to keep my thoughts situated not only on my writing, but also on what inspired me to write what I'm currently writing in the first place.
2: Scenes ~
A pantser naturally doesn't like plotting, but they enjoy writing -- so what better way to plot than by writing?
Often, scenes come to us randomly, and it's a good idea to write them down when they do. They may be short, only a few paragraphs, but these scenes help us to discover more about our story and characters, and might even give us new ideas for our book...or tell us what doesn't work.
3: Character Interviews / Profile ~
Another good, and fun, way to get to know your characters is to conduct an interview with them. This works much like a normal interview would, with you "asking" your characters questions, and them "answering".
How can this help? You will discover your character's unique voice, but you may discover something else.
Me: So, Bob, what was your childhood like?
Bob: *fidgets, stares at the wall, doesn't talk*
Bob: It was fine.
Me: Just "fine".
Bob: Yes, just fine! What, do I have to write a novel for you? Isn't that your job?
A seemingly innocent question can bring out hidden fears or scars that your character has, and how they react will tell you a lot about them, and what they are hiding -- which gives you something to explore in your novel.
4: The "Why" Game ~
This tip I gained from one of my writerly friends, whom I will call "J". The "Why Game" is just that -- a series of questions, all of them "why". The answer can be one word, or sentences, or paragraphs, or pages, but in asking "why" over and over again, you are delving deeper into the core of your story.
It may look like this:
Robin is a hunter.
Because her mother was a hunter.
Because her husband was killed by a wild animal, and she wanted revenge -- plus she had to provide for her daughter.
Because people eat -- and the wild animal was hungry, too, and thought the man looked appetizing.
Because the game in the animal's part of the forest had been killed by other hunters, and the animal was forced to find a new source of food. Irony.
Your answer may be farfetched or odd, but it's something to work off of!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Even if you don't like the more "traditional" plotting, it's always good to remember that there are many different types of writing styles, and you can find what works for you. You might be a plotter that hates outlines, but who loves writing up backstory on napkins at the bookstore -- or you might be a pantser who likes having a stable idea first, but doesn't want to plot everything out, and who ends up writing snidbits in a notebook.
It's important to remember that not one style of story construction is wrong...it is all up to the writer.
Blog Updates / Upcoming Events
A lot of fun things are coming up! Here is a list of some of the things I will be doing. Please stop by the blog and check them out!
Tuesday September 30th ~ Publishing Update
I'll be writing about some of my publishing and website changes, and a few new things I've learned.
October ~ InkTober all month long!
InkTober is a challenge, much like NaNoWriMo, to do something creative every day -- in this case, create ink drawings. I have yet to decide whether I will do a drawing every day or twice a week, but I will be posting my new drawings here, my Tumblr, Pinterest, and putting some up on the RedBubble store, too!
If you're interesting in inking with us, check out the InkTober website for more info.
October 14th ~ Publishing Anniversary Celebration
Every year for my publishing anniversary, I try to write an inspirational post concerning what I've learned about publishing and writing over the past year. This year is number 4!
October Posts ~ NaNo Prep
I will also be writing some NaNo prep posts for October, talking about some Wrimo-y fun to help get you ready for the NaNoing season.