To pants or not to pants that is the question…

“I don’t think I really want to wait for NaNoWriMo to start this new story idea, but would it be considered cheating if I started this early?”

This was posted on my twitter @CreativeTardy yesterday and I can only imagine my friends sitting there staring at their screens in disbelief shouting “oh, for fucks sake, just start, will you!”

Well, you see, I have never been one for breaking the rules… well… certain rules.

“Bloody Hell, what rules?  Fuck rules! Just get on with it, creativity has no blooming rules”! 

OK, tone down the language please.  No these are not real actual replies on twitter… but, I do know there are friends who talk like this to me from time to time in private.

I frustrate them no end, I can see that it takes a lot for the poor dears not to slap me one when I get like this!

 Usually I plan my stories a little.  I have certain ideas about what I would like to include in the story and the types of characters even if I have no idea of the direction of the book, I usually have some sort of idea about some of the future of the story before I write it – sometimes I don’t know how the stories end, sometimes I don’t know the middle but I know its beginning and end.  I don’t usually pants it, as the NaNoWriMo vernacular goes, I am or was a planner.

I am thinking this new story idea called Dragon 2 will be totally and completely pantsed, but I am fighting against it at the same time.

I am, in my personal life, a little bit of a control freak – I don’t like micromanaging people, I am not that type of control freak, but I like things organised and simplified in my own personal life and I don’t like surprises!  I am prone to panic attacks when surprises jump out at me, my brother often described me to his friends as the “rabbit in headlights”.  I am the sort of annoying person who always asks for reassurance and a reminder of what to expect at certain events and so on and Paul has a lot of patience with me as he tells me for the fifth time that day that it will assuredly be such and such.  I am only like this in certain things, not everything.  I am not constantly like this throughout my life, just things that could potentially… terrify me. 

Funnily enough, I am not somebody who suffers from stage fright or being surrounded by large groups of people, especially people I know even a little bit.  I am not like that.  I am more likely to be jittery around small circles of people I hardly know or never met and I am more likely to be this way around my birthday, Christmas, parties hosted by other people I don’t know well or anything regarding health… occasionally I can be like this when food shopping, I don’t like being around small groups of strangers alone, at all.

Never really understood why – but Paul reckons it has a lot to do with things that have happened in my past with my mother.  My mother is usually antagonistic with strangers especially if she feels there are no witnesses to dispute what happened!  She often dragged me along with her for whatever ride she hoped to have from the event she caused.

I like to be organised – artist friends are astounded at how neat my areas are when they used to visit, how as I painted I would wipe up spills and go back and forth from the kitchen cleaning the water jars I used as I did my work.

Reader friends who note my bookshelves look twice at my shelves and cannot believe that my books are in genre and alphabetical order and that I had at the time eleven bookcases around the house, now I have twelve.

I also have around thirty box files all with different genre story ideas, poems, research files etc., those are not in order at the moment because I am struggling for space and that is damaging my mental health no end, the torment knowing that those are not in order when everything else is – it makes my writing work very hard!

They mostly reside on the upstairs landing balancing on our very wide bannister at the top, that acts like a half wall and guests who use our bathroom sometimes sheepishly quiz us on why there is a box marked vampires and another marked dragons by the bathroom door?

One such visitor joked that they thought perhaps I was some kind of cryptozoologist as a secret life.

No, but it would be interesting…

I know I was a pantser before 2006, but I was told that planning is key, strangely enough my writing habits have been declining slowly ever since! So I became a planner, I know being a pantser should be as easy as it was in the past, but I don’t really know anymore.

Anyway, back to the NaNoWriMo story – I would like to start in a few days’ time, but at the moment I am trying to decide whether I should plan the characters and some of the scenes now or let it flow naturally?

Paul suggests naturally – but I have never worked that way before… I have had a lot of dreams regarding this book; a lot of the dreams suggest it will be very successful if only…

Happy reading!

3 Comments

Filed under About my work

3 responses to “To pants or not to pants that is the question…

  1. Kit Dunsmore

    I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2007. I’m a serious pantser, which is one of the reasons I don’t even decide what I’ll be doing until about Oct 30th. Otherwise, like you, I get the itch to start early. I have at times tried other methods, things suggested by books I’ve read, treating November as a double experiment. Can I get to 50K in 30 days? Plus, can I write a book using this (whatever it is) method? I’ve discovered that I am better off pantsing, because extensive planning shuts me down cold. I have to write to discover my story. Just thinking about it doesn’t get me anywhere.

    It sounds like you need permission to pants your novel, so I give you permission: Go ahead and pants it. If you want to start before November, you have permission to do that, too. There is no right way to write. There’s just what works for you. (And that can change from book to book!)

    • Thanks. I never used to plan things, I worked much better back in those days. Also, I keep changing my mind on which story I will end up working on, lol. But it is likely to be one of two. I go through times when I get more ideas than I can handle, but it seems to come and go in small bouts every few months, it seems to be one of those flowing times again. Good luck with NaNo this year 🙂 Thanks for the support, much appreciate!

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