A Scripted Maze

perils with writing and whatnot

Pantsing in Dizzy Circles

Pantsing in Dizzy Circles

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Ma1974 @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/ma1974/

I’ve been going around in circles all weekend about my writing. I feel as though I’m spinning in one place about to go out of control. Before, I, at least, felt that I was getting somewhere, although kind of woozily. I’m in the process of writing five different stories. Not one has gone beyond the one-third mark, the beginning where everyone and everything is introduced in the book.

In one, I’m almost there, the middle section of the story. I’ve introduced all the characters, locations, the norms and most of the relationships. However, I don’t quite have all the pieces needed to go forward with the main plot.

In another story, I’ve gotten as far as introducing all the good guys and their norms. Still, I’ve just barely touched on the two bad guys so far.

I have two stories where I’m not even past the first chapter. Usually this is the easiest part for me. Nonetheless, I’m struggling to the point of almost screaming with these two.

The fifth one isn’t even a page long yet. I keep on thinking about the other four stories. I feel guilty for not trudging along with one of them, just one.

I want to be a pantser. It seems like the easiest way to go. You just sit your butt in the chair and start writing or typing. (For those of you who do not know, a pantser is someone who writes by the seat of his or her pants as opposed to planning it all out.)

However, recently I wondered if I should be a plotter instead. It takes so much preparation before you even get to the part when you start writing chapter one. Yet, by doing the preliminary stuff, you know where you’re going in your story all the way through.

I’ve been told that many pantser end up writing more rewrites than plotters. I wasn’t told why, however. I’m thinking that the reason is that a pantser ends up having to reconstruct the basis of the story two or more times, where the plotter doesn’t. The plotter has his or her outline, pegboard, and graphics, which have kept the story from falling apart somewhere along the way.

Several months ago, I downloaded the free version of yWriter, a software program that helps with the outlines, virtual pegboard and a simple graphic page to use. It keeps everything organized for the writer. All the characters can be reviewed when one tab is clicked. The locations of the story are within another tab. Still, another tab has the scenes. Everything can be moved around in the story with ease.

As I said, I downloaded it a while ago; yet, I haven’t used it thinking I’d be better off as a pantser. I’m sick of the never-ending tussle. With short-term memory loss problems, pantsing my stories just isn’t going to work, I’m afraid. I so wanted to be one of those writers who can whip out a first rough draft, and then, fiddle with it until it’s as close to perfect as one can get it.

When I first started considering using this program (just a couple of weeks ago), I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to do the writing process my way. I seriously thought about giving up on the idea of writing all together. But something inside of me just won’t let that happen. I forged ahead with the blasted program.

Now that I’ve essentially worked with the program for a little while, I’m enjoying writing again. Who would have thought? I love the fact that I can start anywhere in my story, and end anywhere too, and be able to keep it all straight because of the configuration of this little gem.

If you’re a writer, I suggest you try this software program.


19 comments on “Pantsing in Dizzy Circles

  1. Pingback: Sometimes New is Better | Speculations Impressed

  2. Debra Yearwood

    I think about being a plotter, then I panster my way through most things including my writing. 🙂 I have it in my head, I just need to get it out. 🙂


    • Glynis Jolly

      I still can’t give up being a pantser but I like having the 1 or 2 sentences about the next scene written down so I stay focused. I’m enjoying using yWriter for this. 🙂


  3. skinnyuz2b

    Glynnis, thanks for the tip.
    Writing is kind of like dating. Sometimes you know right away that he’s wrong, other times it takes a while to figure out that he’s a wrong’un. If he’s wrong, don’t keep giving him your time. When he’s right, you won’t be able to stay away and you’ll be thinking about him all the time.


    • Glynis Jolly

      What a great way to look at a writing project. I’ve given up on one of my stories. Believe it or not, it’s the one I’ve gone the farthest on. It sounds too much like a story for someone in middle school. Sure, that’s okay, but that wasn’t my intention for this particular project. I’ve put it on a high shelf. When I’m ready to do a story for young teenagers, I’ll pull it down. The one that isn’t even a page long yet I’m kind of committed to. It’s going to be based on the true story of my mom’s life. I told her I’d do it so I’m locked in on this one. :/


  4. mewhoami

    Thanks for the program recommendation. I just downloaded it and sent a link to my mother, who is an excellent but unpublished writer.


  5. suzjones

    I generally write fiction by the seat of my pants with a rough outline of what it is I want in my head but non-fiction is a whole different ball game. lol


    • Glynis Jolly

      Oh yes, non-fiction, I don’t think, can be done admirable without a detailed outline. There’s a certain formula for that type of writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jacqui Murray

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That software sounds awesome, Glynis. Hope it helps keep h organized and on track so we can all get a chance to read your five books. 🙂


    • Glynis Jolly

      So far, Susan, it’s made a big difference on how much I get done per writing session.


  8. Jacqui Murray

    Ah, the age-old question among writers–pantsing or plotting. I’d like the wild, refreshing freedom of writing as my brains surges forward, but it just doesn’t work for me. Sigh.


    • Glynis Jolly

      Exactly, Jacqui. Admittedly, I’m still a pantser, but with now with “sticky notes” along the way so that I don’t lose my way. 😛


  9. Let's CUT the Crap!

    I did the NaNoWriMo in 2012. I had never tried such a huge project before. I might have given up had I not talked another writer to sign up. We kept comparing word counts and I was damned if I would poop out. I have always been and am an pantzer. For this project though, I did an outline: story chapters. Later I learned one to two sentences about each chapter helps keep your focus. I completed the challenge and reached 50,250 words three days before the end of the month.

    The story wasn’t laid out exactly but I had ‘guide posts’ and focus to drive the work. One or two chapters had to be completely reworked / scrapped but i have the bones. Check out Holly Lisle’s site. She tell you how to setup chapters, how many pages, where Act 1, 2 and 3 fit. It makes life so much easier.


    • Jacqui Murray

      And where is that story, Tess? Are you going to reprise it this year?


      • Let's CUT the Crap!

        It’s cooking. I’ve revised the first 40 or 50 pages but to work on it, I’m the type that must lock myself in limbo: no dogs, no cats, no phones, internet, blogging, e-mails. Like that. Trouble is, I get bored easily. I want to plan another trip as well for winter of 2015 and so on and so on.
        Okay. I LIKe my story but wonder if its time has passed. I thought it was timely when I started–maybe not all is lost.
        You are one encouraging soul. I have three more wonderful friends in my back pocket who have been immensely elevators. What have I done to deserve you all wonderful women? Thank you. Jacqui. Thank you for your interest. ❤


    • Glynis Jolly

      I guess I’m doing about the same thing, guild posts. However, using the yWriter makes it so much easier. There’s a place to put in those one or two sentences for easy chapter AND for each scene.


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This entry was posted on 2014/09/16 by in whatnot about writing and tagged , , , , .



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