Friday, November 18, 2011

How NaNo Confirmed My Pantserness

This is going be a very helter-skelter post, so indulge me.  It’s about NaNo, what did you expect?*

I’m always willing to try new things, even if just to see if it works for me or to say ‘I tried that once’.  Which brings me to tonight’s NaNo post.

Now I’ve always been a pantser and if you read this blog you’d know that.  But earlier this year I ran across the nine grid plan and thought that this year’s NaNoWriMo would be the perfect place to test it out.  I mean, it’s only a month, right?  So I plotted out my novel step for step, jotted down all the characters and how they will be a part of this story.  Hell, I even did chapter outlines for the first half of the novel.  If it doesn’t work, I haven’t wasted that much time plus I get to say that I tried it.  And who knows, it might even work for me.

Yeah, not so much.  It actually backfired.  Horribly.

By the second day of week two I was so depressed with the story that I was ready to give up.  I hated that I knew where things were going and I hated knowing what my main character was going to do.  When I write a first draft, two thirds of me is a reader.  I don’t want to know what happens.  It’s not an issue for me knowing the middle and end, that I need to know, otherwise the novel would never end.

I knew why I was depressed but I wanted to try out the plan and plotting the entire novel. I have to mention that filling in the nine grid plan helped me figure out my plot in general, but as for plotting a novel, meh, it didn’t seem to be working.

During that time I was talking to my friend Juliana about it, she was having difficulties of her own, and it felt good to share my doubts and thoughts about my novel, especially this specific issue.  It also made me realize what I had to do to get over my depro and ever growing novel hate.

I tore up the outline, bad blackberry pick as evidence.  The small square is the piece of paper I used to write the important things on.**

And it worked like a charm.  I love my concept, my MC, and the story that’s unfolding.  It’s completely different from any of my other novels and I’m having a ball with it.  I don’t know if this is because I abandoned all reigns when I started plotting this one in my head but something’s different. 

That outline I had?  What was supposed to be the middle of the novel will probably end up in the third block of the novel(I have four blocks) simply because I had other stuff that just happened. 

Outline, you’re dead to me.  You depress me and I’m a little jealous that you work so well for other people. But I don’t think this thing we tried is going to work.  At least we can say that we did give it a shot.  Trust me, we’re better off without each other.

This is my pantser word count:
39107 / 50000 words. 78% done!

Now I want to know if any of you plotters ever tried pantsing, and vice versa.

*  I'm not going to proofread this post, I'm too tired.  If there are mistakes and they deeply offend you, sorry.
**  I've lost that piece of paper, by the way.


  1. I was a pantser until I had done NaNo three years ago. That's when I decided to try plotting a try. I used Holly Lisle's method about plot cards, which I found to be really helpful. It gave me enough wiggle room to still pants part of it.

  2. *waves* hi!
    Hehe. Well, it turns out I'm not completely a pantser, but I can't outline every scene either, otherwise I lose the enthusiasm of finding out what happens.
    I need to have a few strong points, like the first and second act break, and a few turns around the middle. What I mean is, I need to know where I'm going, but I can't plot extensively or I don't feel like writing it anymore ;)
    And our conversations are the best lol

  3. Alicia, I've read another post about a blogger friend of mine who uses the plot cards and it's an interesting concept. I'm might look it up and try it out with next year's NaNo.

    Juliana,it seems we write almost the same way except I pants a whole lot more than you do. But I wholeheartedly agree with you. I need to know where I'm going in a very vague way because if I know certain specifics, I don't want to write it anymore. That depresses me.