Oh, that magic.


I’ve gone from a panster to a plotter during the re-write of this novel. This novel is complex, lots of plot points, so much to keep track of with the multiple POVs, I had no choice.

I forgot that I’m a panster at heart. So, when a problem arose I played with it for days by sitting and thinking, writing down notes, asking myself questions, and when a solution arose I began to work it into the problematic scene. While I was writing, something new and unforseen unfolded: the perfect event, the perfect solution to my dilemma. I was thrilled. And I was reminded of the magic of writing, of not seeing where I’m going, of letting the words flow of their own accord and watching stories take shape before me.

I’d forgotten all about that magic because I’d been so intensely plotting and fixing and tweaking. But there’s no way that this particular twist was going to present itself to me, it waited for me to let my subconscious work and then came out.

Sometimes it’s best to just sit down and write and let the story tell itself. Sometimes, all the planning in the world just isn’t going to help.

I suppose the trick is learning when what’s needed: careful thought, or free flow.

Do you move back and forth between the two worlds of panster and plotter?


when panic sets in

You have everything under control.

You’re first draft has been written and re-written and you finally see where things are supposed to going, precise details and all.

You have outlined your work and adjusted for discrepancies and holes. You have deleted scenes and added in missing ones.

Now, you think you are ready to take those next to final steps when you read, and comment, and then go back in and edited for voice, style, description, setting, etc.

But then you realize it: There are more holes! Hang on, my whole time frame in these scenes is off. And this scene – what does it do? It doesn’t move the story forward at all! And wait, neither does this one!

And you have to outline again, and then you find more holes and more discrepancies, and you think *#$*#* will this never ^&*%*&^$ end!!!

And your mind whirls, and you want to scream and throw something. But, you can’t, because really you’re doing all this ’cause you’re writing one damn good novel, and you’re ┬átaking all the steps to get to that fantastic end product.

Even if there are a hundred, a thousand steps more than you thought you would have to take.

Of course, I’m talking about me, and the part about writing one damn fantastic novel is brain washing.




When I began writing, I wrote a novel. Then I re-wrote it. And then I did it again. And again, all in all a total of about 11 times. I did it without coherence, knowing that it needed tending, but not knowing how or where to find the problems.

I think what I was doing was developing my voice, learning all about the craft of writing.

Recently, I’ve gone back to that novel and I re-wrote it again. This time, I’m learning about the craft of story telling. I’ve been learning about story telling over time, but never in such a concise form as I have these last 3 months.

What I’ve learnt is that sometimes writing is about not writing.

I speak to other writers, read your blogs, I know that for you many of you this is something that comes quite naturally for you. Not for me. I think of writing, and I need to write. I am not good at slowing, thinking, mulling things over. I see something I don’t like and I want to change it. immediately.

There are of course, big problems with this. A change very rarely is a change unto itself, there is always a domino effect, a ripple that one small change sends out into the whole novel. And what if that ripple leads to others, and others, which it often does, and I don’t like those changes, they don’t belong.

So, I’ve learned to still my hand, and keep files and journals where I write my thoughts. I analyze them, see the ripple effect of a change, and inevitably, I will adjust, often more than once. And only then once I have everything outlined and organized step by step will I implement the change. If I like it.

And the prose? Well that comes last now. At the very end. After everything is in its place, then I can play with the words, and enjoy the textures and sounds. Can you tell this is where my fondness lies? It comes to me naturally, in ease. The rest of it is work, fun work, frustrating at times, but very rewarding.

Wishing you all a happy New Year with lots of fruition, and may your writing go where you want to take it!

Happy Holidays!