Every writer has their own modus operandi when they begin a new project. Since my artistic abilities are rather lacking, I like to create a vision board. I browse magazines, scavenge for items in nature, snap photos, rifle through old family albums, and clip words of inspiration to pin to a wall in MY SPACE.
The somewhat odd collection reflects the setting, the mood, and circumstances that influence my cast of characters. A glance at the wall motivates me during the dry spells or keeps me going when I’m on a roll.
I am not a plotter, not yet anyway, so I need all the help I can get. Although I do plan ahead in fits and spurts, by definition I am more of a pantser – one who flies by the seat of her pants. I’ll have an idea for a story, an intriguing first line, or a title and start to write. Most often I think I know my characters – their wants, needs, and wounds – but then they take over and throw me off a cliff instead of the other way around. The twists and turns they take leave me gripping my head shouting, why didn’t I think of that?
Well, silly woman. You did!
Of course, these incidents are opportune moments to plot and plan a new direction, which I do. So would that make me more of a Pants-a-Plot? In any case, it works for a time, but eventually leaves me wailing at the wall again, Now what?
For one current work-in-progress, a contemporary middle grade Grimm’s fairy tale-ish tale, sometimes the answer twinkles from an ancestors eyes, peeks from the cracks between a ramshackle cottage’s worn floorboards, or bobs in a rushing river. Other times there is silence. Dead silence. Until the ticking clock or a bit of birdsong drifting through an open window reminds me to turn to these generous words of encouragement David Sedaris wrote in my copy of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk:
If David Sedaris could have faith in my ability to tell a tale after a three minute chat about the adventures of a 13th century chicken, maybe I should too.
A bit of encouragement goes a long way. Otherwise I’d have given up years ago.
You’ve got this people. Whatever this is!
❤ and thank you for stopping by ❤
P.S. to my writer readers – I’m curious…
Are you a plotter, a pantser, or
a Pants-a-Plot like me?