At the moment, I’m working on a rewrite of an urban fantasy piece I originally drafted about five years ago. Gosh, it seems like so long ago, now. Anyways, I’m about a third of the way through and have started feeling a bit…
Let’s just say I’ve started to suffer from Sagging Middle Syndrome. Which is a bummer.
Technically, since I’ve already written the story, I shouldn’t be having this problem. However, much of what I wrote is now being completely rewritten. I’ve done scenes in different orders. I’ve changed character identities rather completely. It’s the same story, but only in the bare bones. Put all this together and my pantsing technique is in full force.
Now, I’ve also had an idea for my next story running through my head for about two weeks now. I think it’s probably going to end up being the one I publish before I do Cat’s Paw, but we shall see. Cat’s Paw needs a lot of work, not the least of which is the title. This other story, though, has the potential to be a really fantastic piece. (Well, okay, they both have the potential to be really fantastic.)
I can’t get this idea out of my head. It’s there when I’m falling asleep. It’s there when I’m brushing my teeth. Both of these times are the most productive times for idea curating, in my opinion. It got to the point where I decided that, instead of just writing down the ideas as they come (i.e. randomly) that I would start a new Scrivener project and outline.
Yes, I know.
From me. A dedicated pantser.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been doing research and reading a lot of other writers’ opinions on outlining and I wanted to give it a go. Mostly to see if it would get rid of the potential sagging middle syndrome. And because I wanted to write down my ideas for this story in a coherent form. So, last night, I gave it a go.
And you know what, it was really, really enjoyable. I got to write out the (very) bare bones for the first few scenes, as well as the ending scenes. There are some middle ones that I have also, but I didn’t get those down yet. I’ve also got a few character profiles for the most important characters. Those aren’t anywhere near complete, but it’s enough that they exist. I decided that I really liked this process.
Now don’t you go and get your panties in a wad. I’m still a pantser. I have no idea what my characters will actually say or do and there are a huge number of gaps to fill. The structure of the story may change as I write it. But I enjoyed getting those scenes down and creating a general idea of what I will write.
That being said, I still have to finish Cat’s Paw. And with the Sagging Middle Syndrome staring me right in the face, I’ve come up with an idea. I’m going to outline the remainder of the novel. Nothing complex. No character profiles. Nothing more than basic, two line descriptions of scenes. But this way I have a path to follow for the rest of the book. I think this will work because I have already written the book. I have the pieces. I now just need to put them in the appropriate spots and fill in the gaps.
There is a lot more research to do before I figure this out completely. The important thing is that I didn’t hate outlining. And I have a plan for Cat’s Paw and my next project. I guess that makes me a plotser. I refuse to be a plantser because that sounds suspiciously like gardening and that is something I cannot do. At all.
Here’s to plotsing. Oh, and happy chocolate day!