I lost my Pants! by Suzanne Rock
I lost my Pants! by Suzanne Rock
Thanks so much for having me here at Night Owl Romance. It’s great to “see” everyone. :o) Today, I want to talk a little bit about my writing method. Before you ask, yes, there is a method to the madness, lol.
Writers normally fall into one of two categories: plotter or pantzer. A plotter is someone who plots a story out before writing. This can be as little as writing a one-page synopsis or as detailed as chapter-by-chapter spreadsheets and five-page character interviews.
Pantzers on the other hand, do just as the name implies – write by the seat of their pants. They like to start with a blank page and just go for it. They may have a general idea of who the characters are and how the story will end, but they don’t know much about the characters, or how they will achieve their ending.
I used to be a die-hard pantzer. Once I figured out the details of a story, I lost interest in it and couldn’t finish writing the book. There was no mystery, no adventure, no excitement.
So I wrote my first handful of stories by the seat of my pants. The excitement level was high. Who were these characters? Where would they take me? This kept me going for about fifty pages. Then the frustration would begin.
My characters would often veer off on tangents that had nothing to do with the story arc. I would frequently suffer from writer’s block. My motivation would run away and it would take me a while to find it again. I persevered however, and submitted my babies one after another with enthusiasm.
They all got rejected.
After a year of rejections I was forced to re-evaluate my writing process. Now, I’m not saying if you write by the seat of your pants that you will be rejected. Far from it. I’m just saying that this particular writing style wasn’t working for me. I found I had to spend five times as long editing a manuscript after I wrote it. Not very efficient, eh? Even after editing I wasn’t getting much more than form rejections. It was obvious something had to change.
I decided to plot. Not detailed plots mind you, but just a blurb to keep my writing focused. My first book, “Spyder’s Web” was born from that method. Encouraged, I wrote a proposal for “Up on the Housetop” (first three chapters and synopsis). I submitted it before finishing the story. (I had a good enough relationship with my editor so I was able to do this.) That too, was accepted. Not only did it get contracted, but I found drafting the rest of the story to be much easier. No writer’s block. No run-away muse. I had to spend less time with my editor to polish it. Now that I’m writing the sequel to “Up on the Housetop,” I realize the value of plotting. Not only do I have to keep everything within my story consistent, but I have to keep the world building the same from story to story.
I think balance is key – at least it is for me. I plot enough to keep everything consistent and the story plot on track, but I can’t over-plot, as I will lose interest. Within each chapter my characters can do as they please, as long as they know that by the end they have to be at a certain place and at a certain time. It keeps the story interesting for me, and hopefully for my readers as well.
I know that there are as many different ways to write a book out there as there are writers. If you’re a writer, share with us your writing method (plotter or pantzer). If you are a reader, share with me one of your favorite paranormal books that has a great plot. I’m always looking to add books to my “to be read” pile. ;)
Up on the Housetop: Blurb
Desperate to escape her controlling family, Chloe Bradford scrambles up to the housetop of her Texas home on Christmas Eve. There she discovers a sexy stranger cloaked in shadow. He convinces her to shed her good-girl image and give into her most secret desires. The man's low, raspy voice tugs at her memory as much as it awakens her passion. Is he a Christmas miracle, or some figment of her imagination? When he tries to leave, she follows him, eager to learn his identity.
Zach can't stop thinking about Chloe, or their reunion on the roof. His wolf-half urges him to reveal his identity and claim her, but he doesn't dare. For both their sakes, he must remain in the shadows until he can control his inner beast's bursts of rage. After a decade of struggle he thought he could handle his curse, but Chloe's presence causes his control to slip. As the moon-rages become more frequent, he knows he's slipping toward the insanity that claims many of his kind. Only Chloe can save him, but will she want to after he reveals his identity and the reason he broke her heart over a decade ago?