Doing it backwards

I’m a panster. I sit, disappear into my world, and let it appear as words on paper.

I will outline, plot, and characterize only after a first draft is all written–at least that’s how I’ve done it to date.

Then I’ll repeat the process, as I start to guide the story. I have done this cycle a few times now, fixing holes, patching up, and my first half is out with readers for critique. For me this means I’m going back to the beginning. Beginnings are very hard for me. I don’t see them, I never know where the story begins until my work is near completion. Normally, I write the beginning last.

That’s what I’m doing now, writing my opening chapters. And I am going about it as a plotter. I know what traits of my heroine I want the reader to see, and what events will display them. I have a list of info that needs to be delivered, but I’m still working out the exact order of it, which means my outline is still fluid, and needs to solidified so that I no longer what to rearrange.

I’m a panster gone plotter. It’s a difficult process for me in some ways, but necessary for the precision I require right now. And it’s fun–most of the time!! The best of it is seeing my creation become more complete.

If you are a plotter have you ever gone panster, and vice-versa? And if so, how was the experience?

11 thoughts on “Doing it backwards

  1. I am a panster for sure but I do start at the beginning and work through to the end, even editing and fine tuning as I go along. It’s just what works best for me. I never really know where the story is going until the end. I often feel I am breaking all the rules. We all have to do it our way I guess. I don’t think I could ever be a plotter though.

    1. Hi Darlene, it’s funny, seems so many writers have this idea that they’re doing it all wrong. I think we each work our own ever changing way, and I find all the differences so interesting!!

      I never thought I could be a plotter either, until I went back to an old WIP. I ended up outlining and re-writing and at that point I understood what plotters are all about. I also saw the advantage to it. However, for me, some of the magic was lost doing it that way–I think I’m a panster at heart. But, who knows what the future holds.

  2. Oddly enough, I always know the beginning and the end of my stories/novels. I don’t sit down to write a single word until I know in my head what the opening is going to be. Then I write it down, so i won’t forget and start the plotting of my journey from A to B, marking out major milestones I must reach on the way. How very different we all work!

    1. Does your beginning or ending ever change, Maria, or is it pretty settled?
      I suppose in your genre you must begin with the inciting event, or am I incorrect and can it be a little ways in from the very opening?
      I usually have a foggy idea of the road ahead–I know what it’s about, and generally I know the end (except in shorts, sometimes the ends evade me for a long while). It’s a wonderful process of discovery!

      1. I hardly ever change the beginning or end, they seem to be fixed points with me. As I write for children, I tend to leave the inciting event until I’ve really set the scene and introduced all the players, but my beginnings usually start with a sort of teaser, something unusual and unexpected, that will become clearer as the story progresses.

      2. …it’s just the getting from A to B that can be troublesome…I’m terrible for putting too many sub plots into the journey, which I then struggle to resolve by the end:)

  3. Generally, I have a lot of trouble getting the plot exactly right. Usually, it takes me several attempts before I get to the right one. Hope your writng is going well, Lawrence

  4. Panster? Now thats a new word for me LOL. I guess I’m a plotter. In my notes, I love going into detail about all the characters, the storyline and I nearly always know how my stories are going to end before I even put pen to paper.
    Its refreshing to see how other people work though. There’s no right or wrong way, just whats right for you! 🙂

    1. Hi Nisha, I do the same as you, I keep files, journals, etc all about my work, but I learn most of it as I go along, and I don’t make any changes until I’m done the whole first draft. I need to see where I’m going, how it all unfolds, and then I can start taking it all apart to put back together again. So far, I have seen all my endings, but beginnings…ah now those are another matter all together. 🙂

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