Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What's Your Choice? Outliner and/or Seat-of-the-Pants Writer?, A Gift for You, Save 25%

Gardener Ted and I heading for the beach!!

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog by J.Q. Rose!
As you can see from the photo above, I'm a bit giddy and silly. I have a good reason. I finished the manuscript for Terror on Sunshine Boulevard and sent it in to the editors at BWL Publishing. 

That doesn't mean the story is finished. The editor will return her suggestions/comments on the ms all red-marked in the Tracker program. So I will have even more editing to do before the final story will be ready for release. But having the story written is the first big hurdle. 

Soon I'll be ready to tackle another story. I usually outline the story first, but I'm open to changing elements to help me get to a satisfying ending. How about you? 

I'm sharing this previously posted article on the J.Q. Rose blog for you to consider how you begin your stories. I look forward to your comments.

Outliner or Pantser???

What's Your Choice? Outliner and/or Seat of the Pants Writer? by J.Q. Rose
When you begin your story or novel, do you use an outline to guide your writing or do you just begin and let the ideas/characters/plot take you in the direction of the story? Letting the words flow along with no pre-planning means you are writing by the seat-of-your-pants thus earning the title of a “pantser.”  We have lots of discussions at The Writers Chatroom among the newcomers and regular attendees as to the best method of writing a story or novel. Click here to join us at The Writers Chatroom . 
  • Wednesday evening chats  from 8-10 pm ET,  
  • guest authors on Sunday nights at 7 pm ET. 
In an article by Robert Campbell, Outlining,  in Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America, this mystery writer admits he never used an outline. He preferred William Faulkner’s method of setting his characters on the road and “walk beside them, listening to what they have to say.” Campbell admits writing without an outline causes him to start down paths that lead to dead ends, but he discovers a lot about a character spending time on pages upon pages that he may have to discard. However, he feels that at least, he exercised the writing muscles.
Later in his writing Campbell discovered outlining using his “word processor” or even hand writing a simple outline. He also makes up documents before starting the story such as Chronology, Cast of Characters, Address Book, Timeline of History, Notebook and Agenda which “sketches the goals, desires and probable actions of each principal character as I move through the body of the book.” He builds on each of these documents as the work-in-progress (WIP) evolves.  Campbell cautions that at no time is anything engraved in stone. He remains flexible with each chapter.
I have tried the pantser and not so strict outline process and discovered just like Campbell, my many paths lead to dead ends. I really don't like cutting a bunch of scenes or re-writing to fit that once-brilliant idea into the story when it really isn't necessary. 
Quote by Nora Roberts
It really makes no difference whether you need a map, guidelines, outline or just an idea to freely write a story. The important thing is to write. Don’t be paralyzed by constructing an outline, then never writing the story. With no outline, you may write paragraphs, pages, scenes, chapters, etc that will need to be cut for the final draft. But many authors incorporate those leftover pages into another future story or save them to share with readers on your blog to give them an extra treat to the behind-the-scenes editing you did to produce the finished product.
Pleeeeeezzzz…just write! It’s in you. What a shame if you don’t let the story inside you out on the page.

A Gift for You
If you are editing now or will be in the future, I would like to share a valuable cheatsheet developed by my first editor, Karen McGrath. She titled it Villain Words because eliminating these words will eliminate passive voice writing. 

Please click here to link to the J.Q. Rose Author Page and like my page. I'll send you the sheet via Messenger. Thank you.
If you prefer, send me an email to let me know you liked my page and I'll email the sheet to you.

If you have already liked my author page, leave a comment below and I'll email the sheet. 

My email address is jqrose02(at)gmail (dot)com


My publisher, BWL Publishing is offering 25% off my mysteries when using the coupon for Smashwords. The sales price with the coupon is $2.24. Grab them for yourself or your friends! All formats are available. If you have a kindle, order the mobi file.

Click on the titles below to go to the Smashwords Sales Page. 

Also available for $2.99 at other major online booksellers. Thank you!

   Dangerous Sanctuary                                             Deadly Undertaking

      Coupon Code KW65J                                           Coupon code AS94U


Helena Fairfax said...

Congratulations on finishing Terror on Sunshine Boulevard, JQ. I love the title! Love your cute photo, too :) Hope you're having plenty of sunshine at the moment!
When writing, I do a mixture of outlining and just "listening to my characters". I don't like too strict an outline, as I may have an idea and want to change things.

Juneta key said...

Started as a panster but heard a new term recently I am now a pantyliner as I have learned to use a brief outline and/or beats. Congrats on your progress.

Nan P said...

Congrats on finishing the draft of Sunshine Boulevard!

I love Juneta's reference to pantyliners. I might be in that category. I try to do some preliminary sketching out of the story line, but I find full outlining too boring, so I usually just jump in and start writing and keep sketching/outlining the story line as I go along. With my memoir, I didn't worry much about the story arc until the second or third draft. With the novel I'm sporadically working on, I'm trying to do a little more up-front figuring out of direction, but only in a general way.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Helena, Yes, we're having plenty of sunshine. Perfect weather for me in mid 70's--23 C for you. I agree. I like being flexible with that outline. Most of the time the ending I thought would happen is not the one that ends the book! So much for planning!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Juneta, I've never heard about being a pantyliner. Made me laugh at that. Thanks for sharing this new term. I think I may join you with that distinction!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Nan, oh yes, deliver me from preparing a full outline. I usually scratch a few ideas down in my spiral notebook, especially the dramatic scene ideas. So happy to hear you are working on your novel. Go for it!!

Marsha said...

Hey, JQ. I've always fallen more on the plotter side of the scale. Even with my first book, before I knew anything, I made a list of over 100 things that should happen in roughly a chronological order. Of course, that shifted as I went along. Now I call myself a "pantser." I do some of the forms your writer talked about. Fairly good character outlines, and a conflict chart. Then I start and write. When I get stuck I reference my charts. I recently wrote a short story (something I never do) and I pantsed the whole thing. It was pretty fun. But can't see that working for a whole book.
Glad your weather has improved in Florida. Always enjoy your posts. Excited about this next book. Happy Thanksgiving.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Marsha, thanks so much for letting us in on how you write your novels. 100 things that should happen in your first book! I love that idea. You were really in touch with your story. Must have worked pretty well. Now you're on #6 novel, I think. WTG!!! I really enjoy writing short stories. I guess because I can see the results in hours rather than months/years. Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Mikki said...

I am definitely a pantser! I sit at the computer, and the words come from my brain to my fingers. Cannot explain it better than that. I have conversations with my characters, and sometimes real arguments...they all seem to have minds of their own LOL Once in a while I will use a mind map, but never an outline...hated them in school, hate them now! But I do a lot of editing before sending the manuscript to the editors at BWL.

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