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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Trouble With Pantsing



Since finishing No Earthly Business, I've toyed with several ideas for new stories or revamping old ones. Unfortunately, Gertrude (my enigmatic muse if you're new here) hasn't really settled on one she likes yet. Gertrude has Writer's ADD, an insidious illness that strikes those of us not disciplined enough to say to our muses, "I don't care what you say. I'm writing this story, so deal!"




Now, I admit. I'm not a really stern parent. I'm more a don't-sweat-the-small-stuff kinda gal. So I tend to let Gertrude run amok until she finally seizes upon something that commands her focus. And then, we're off and writing. When this procedure works, the result is a terrific story and an excitement to hit the keyboard every day that hums around me. The best part of all? With Gertrude and I in synch, I've never been disappointed in the final result.



When Gertrude is still scattered, however, it can be frustrating for me and my legion of readers. I'm constantly asked, "What happened to that story about...?" And my standard reply is always, "I scrapped it for now."



There are lots of reasons Gertrude and I will scrap a story. The plot might not be coming together the way we originally anticipated. Our hero and heroine might not like each other. Maybe the conflict isn't strong enough to sustain the amount of pages needed.



Currently, I have six manuscripts I've scrapped at different intervals. I don't delete them; they simply sit in a temporary folder until Gertrude finally figures out the flaws and gets excited to work with the characters again. So if my progress bar doesn't move for a while or I suddenly switch gears and start talking about a different story, be patient.



Eventually, Gertrude will lead me to something stellar. After all, she hasn't let me down yet.







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