A couple of weekends ago, I attended an all day workshop hosted by one of the RWA chapters I belong to, Valley of the Sun RWA. Larry Brooks presented the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing. I don't intend to give you a summary of the workshop, but I came away with a discovery about myself. (Remember my blog is called Discover Yourself.)
Until I heard Larry speak, I thought I was a pantser. I learned early on, way back in BBP (before being published) that there are two kinds of writers - plotters and pantsers. As you might guess, pantsers write by the seat of their pants, no planning or plotting involved. My first published book came about as an idea for a short story inspired by my sister who was between marriages at the time. I began writing, and it just kept going until it was a book. I certainly didn't plot it. I didn't even know three of the characters were going to be in the book until they showed up in their first scenes. And I had so much fun writing it that way that I tagged myself a definite pantser.
Plotting is so boring. Making outlines and sculpting each scene seemed dry, lacking in knee-jerk creativity and so organized! Then I heard Larry rail on about pantsers. He really had some valid points. And it kind of ticked me off. Until I realized, I'm not a true pantser. In fact, I'm not a pantser at all. Being a plotter doesn't mean you HAVE to do an outline or the other boring things I THOUGHT plotters do. He spoke of storyboards, post it notes, character research, knowing your ending, keeping track of events and on and on.
Ah-oh...all the things I have done or used in one form or another. And I do know how my book will end when I begin. I might have new characters walk into the story unplanned or new scenes come to mind as I write, but I do have a plan. My characters each have their own files with all kinds of information that might not even make it into the book. I do keep a chapter by chapter time line. I do a rough synopsis. Oh my gosh! I actually do plan and plot.
Discovering what kind of writer I am isn't the only thing I took away from the class. The rest is technical and should help me from now on. But crossing over from pantser to plotter was the biggest wow!