Plotting ~vs~ Winging it

Woman thinking

Hello everyone.

Fall barged into the Midwest this week, bringing crisp cool air and falling leaves. It’s a new season, and new beginning.

It’s also a new beginning for me. I just finished my novel, Pursuing The Light (yay), and I’m starting a new manuscript. It’s sad to say goodbye to characters you’ve spent so much time with, but the next story includes some characters that appeared in my first book, Temping the Light.

I still consider myself a new writer, because I’ve written only three complete books. My writing process is not at all streamlined. My goal is to write great books fast. I tend to write about twenty-thousand words, and then trash them two or three times before continuing on with the rest of the story. Which is not at all efficient. Being a pantser has its drawbacks.

I was talking to my critique partner who plots. She’s a much faster writer, and her stories seem to have great character and story arcs. She told me that I needed to learn how to plot.

(Cue in psycho music.)

I’ve tried to plot, I really have, but it just doesn’t work. This is why some critique partners are worth more than gold. Mine is going to teach me how to plot so I can be more proficient. I’m excited, and I’m scared.

Plotting is done with a mixture of the left and right side of your brain. For some reason, though, mine doesn’t like to mix. In fact, I think they hate each other. When I’m writing my first draft my house is a total mess, appointments are forgotten, I do goofy things, and I’m more emotional. My boyfriend doesn’t like this side of me at all. It’s not all bad. I sometimes feel like Snow White with birds chirping around me and furry animals scurrying around my feet. It’s a fantasy world I do enjoy.

When I’m editing, however, the house is spotless, dinner is on the table, and the household runs without a glitch. Everything is in its place. I organize, label everything, and scrub the tops of the doors and the baseboards. My left brain is super happy when right brain is not around.

So now I’m back to right brain Bonnie. I’ve already written twenty-thousand on this new story. Of course my internal editor is telling me how much it sucks, which seems to be a common place for most writers at some point in a first draft. I’m my own worst nightmare. Since “winging it” hasn’t worked all that great for me, I’m going to give my all to the plotting concept. I’m so lucky to have such a great critique partner.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Do you plot, or write by the seat of your pants? If you do plot, can you give a newbie some advice?

Thanks so much for reading.

Bonnie Gill


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5 Responses to Plotting ~vs~ Winging it

  1. In my own writing, I find myself always torn between the two: To plot, or not to plot. Thank goodness I’ve learned to combine. Complicated stories require plotting, so I plot!
    Good luck!
    Tema Merback
    Writing as Belle Ami

  2. Beth Carter says:

    I’m a pantser, too, Bonnie, which really hurts me with sequel writing. That’s mainly why I started an entirely new novel to avoid the ugly process. Now, I’m back on my sequel and it’s branching out in every direction! I’m trying to wrangle it. Obviously, I need plotting advice, too. Good luck.

  3. bonniegill2 says:

    Hey Beth,
    I’ll let you know how it goes. So far so good 🙂

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