Let’s talk about plotting your Kindle fiction.
Kindle fiction: plotter, or “pantser”?
This morning, I got up early, and wrote 1,000 words of my current novel. I’ve found that early-morning writing is best for me. I’m hoping to do another 1,000 words later today, depending on how much other writing I get done.
When it comes to plotting, there are two kinds of writers: plotters, and “pantsers.” The plotters LOVE to plot. One of my friends writes 20,000-word plots. Another writer friend is a pantser; he just starts writing. He has no idea where he’s going, he just keeps writing until he’s done. As you might imagine, he needs to do lots of revisions – he doesn’t figure out his plot until he’s almost done with the book.
Over the years, I’ve tried various plotting methods. Occasionally an idea hits me, or I think of a character, and I start writing, because I want to know what happens. I just pants it. With my current novel, a contemporary romance, I’m mixing pantsing and plotting. I started with an idea for a couple of characters, and wrote 8,000 words.
Then I created a plot. I knew my characters, and I knew what would happen, sort of, but at 8,000 words, I also knew that I had to get my beats on track, or I’d be sunk. What are beats? Screenwriter Blake Snyder’s written some wonderful books on screenwriting. His “Save the Cat” plotting process works for novelists too. Basically, certain things need to happen at certain points in your novel, so that it’s satisfying for readers.
Liz has an excellent Save the Cat beat sheet spreadsheet, if you want to try the process. If you’re a confirmed pantser, she has a lovely 7-point plotting system for you. I’ve used Save the Cat’s beat sheets, and they work for me, but the method takes time to learn. Some of my writing students are confirmed pantsers, and they love the 7-point system.
You CAN make the transition from pantsing to plotting
The big challenge with pantsing is that it leads to lots of rewriting. Plotters tend to write more novels faster.
In How I Went from 1,000 Words a Day to 7,000 Words a Day Sophie Hill reports:
“Now, I used to be firmly in the ‘pantser’ camp. I’d avoided plotting my works out in advance for years, but I finally decided to take a stab at plotting my stories from beginning to end. It was stressful. Sometimes it made my head hurt. But, finally, desperate to increase my output, I made myself take the time to plot out the entire book from beginning to end. And the results were magic.”
Please don’t worry if you’re a pantser. Way back in the mists of time, I wrote three novels, pantsing my way through them. Plotting skills develop when you need them, and the amount of plotting you can do varies from book to book. Sometimes, when you’re writing, you just need to see where it goes.
Updated: January 4, 2018
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