I’ve come to realize this past year that I am a Plotter.
That’s a writer who plans out their book, who knows going in all the major plot twists and turns, the who-done-it, how the story ends. That’s the opposite of a Pantser who writes with no real plan, who just writes and is never sure where it will all end up.
I’m not so die hard that I can’t make changes as I go along, but I write better when I at least have a gleam of where I’m heading.
I’m almost finished my book titled “Where the Forest Meets the Corn”. I was inspired by the title, sent to me by my son who was, at the time, sitting in that very spot. It was last November and he and his wife were out deer hunting, sitting on the edge of the forest. Marvels of social media, they came up with the title and sent it to me on Chat.
I was hip deep in my NaNo book at the time so I made a note of it and set it aside until “Hiding From the Night” was complete, first draft at any rate. When I finish a draft, I set the book aside for a couple of months, maybe let others read it so I have some feedback when it comes time to start the edits.
I was free to start a new story and I had the beginning, well, right from the beginning. As soon as I heard the title I had the idea of a body being found in a winter cornfield. It had to be winter because, for some reason, I like to start a book in the same year and season I am experiencing. Don’t ask me why.
So, winter scene, a cornfield next to some woods and a man out looking for his lost dog finds more than he bargained for. I had the opening chapters written quite quickly, the old farmer, his dog Max, the young woman dead in his field. I even wrote the scenes where the police began their investigation.
I had the detective, my lead character, but I didn’t have any idea why this woman had been murdered, or who the killer was. I had to start the work of filling out the details, which when I had a better idea where I was going, meant some back tracking to make things mesh.
I wrote all summer, but the story kept getting lost on me, and okay, life got in the way of my doing any consistent writing for awhile. But this fall it’s been better, and the story is coming together, one chapter at a time, one scene at a time. Basically I...ha, ha, ha...made it up as I went along.
I sent the recent chapters to my friend, left her on a bit of a cliff hanger, and sent another chapter last night, same deal. I couldn’t send anymore because I don’t know how I’m going to end it, have too many ideas and need to think on it some more.
Yes, I’m a Plotter all right. If I’d started this book with my usual prep, I’d have had it finished long ago. There’s a lesson to be learned here, for me at any rate. I don’t have to have all the details so that I lose the spontaneity, but I do have to have an idea where I’m going.