Planning, Plotting, Pantsing: What matters? What doesn't?
A quick look back while Ruthy's kitchen is torn apart and her mystery is due in three weeks!
Words as true today as they were three years back!
by Multi-published, Award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne
You're a planner.
You're a plotter.
You're a pantser.
It doesn't matter. Not all that much. Not nearly as much as some would have you believe.
How you write isn't nearly as important as how you spend your time. If you're spending all of your time planning or plotting or researching and not writing, well... then your production may drop. Or be non-existent.
What does that mean, you ask?
Simple. We follow the math. Some creative types hate to look at numbers. It stifles their creativity.
Like so many things, it comes down to numbers and a writer is actually running a small business. You need to know and understand the numbers of your business to make it work, right? We'll keep it simple, I never get complicated if I can possibly avoid it.
If you plan or plot your book for a month... then write it for two months and have a full book 90 days in:
GO YOU! BONUS!!! YOU ROCKED IT!!!! :)
And I mean that most seriously.
If you didn't plan or overly plot and you still have a book done at 90 days, YOU ROCKED IT, TOO!!! PARTY BONUS FOR YOU AS WELL!
So you're equal, correct? Both with a book done at 90 days, equating the possibility of 4 books/year if they're 70,000 to 80,000 word books. Leaving some editing time there.
You two can go grab coffee now. I'm not talking to youse at the moment. I'm talking to them.
You know who you are...
You've over-plotted four books and haven't finished one.
You've written three great openings, and sent them out to editors and EVEN GOT A BITE ON ONE, a request for a full manuscript, but alas... you haven't finished a manuscript.
And therein lies the problem.
It's not the writing for some folks.
It's the finishing.
When someone does the dishes and leaves them on the counter to air dry: UNFINISHED TASK.
When someone walks out of a bedroom leaving the bed unmade: UNFINISHED TASK
When someone adds pool chemicals but doesn't vacuum the weird things on the bottom: UNFINISHED TASK
When someone washes a car, but doesn't wash the inside of the windows: UNFINISHED TASK
Do you get what's similar about all of these tasks? They look good on the surface. Effort has been expended. Stuff's gotten started, but nothing is finished.
That's a common conundrum, and the basic reason why many authors never get published...
Because writing the whole book isn't easy. It's not the fun part. It's a challenge on a daily basis.
Now I love what I do. Like that cute GMC truck commercial, and the wife that claims the big gray truck, exclaiming "I LOVE IT!!!" And the crazy cute guys acquiesces and nods toward the big red SUV. "I like red."
That's me and writing. I love it.
So maybe I'm jaded because I love what I do, but if you also love it, then why aren't you finishing things?
Here's a probable cause: Your conflict isn't strong enough and your characters are under-developed.
That's another common cause of the malady they call "Writer's Block"... when the brain just can't wrap its head around the story, it's usually because the story is too weak to write. Once you've added layers of conflict, reasons to avoid one another, and big bumps in the road, the kind that are organic to the story, not just thrown in for the author's page count, you have the depth to keep writing. Otherwise it's very hard to know what on earth these characters should do next?
(THAT WAS A VERY LONG, BAD SENTENCE. DON'T DO THAT, OKAY?)
We are all guilty of this at one time or another. And the world didn't end. We re-write.
We deepen the conflict, we add reasons why the characters can't ever get along (Mother/daughter, sister/sister, hero/heroine) and then we have them creep toward the middle...
Not like Justin Timberlake in "Can't Stop the Feeling"...
And by the way, Justin can creep up on me anytime. The guy is two thumbs up stinkin' adorable, but I digress...
And along those lines, as an author I would be REMISS to not remind you about my newest Love Inspireds "A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing", a great story about a cowboy who thinks he know just who he is, what he's doing and where he's going...
Until he finds out he's been living a lie for thirty years.
Great story. Heart-grabbing characters. And a beautiful Western Idaho setting that makes you want to move there, like right now.
I've got a copy to give away to one lucky commenter. It could be you... and I promise: It's a really good story.
What's your plan for this brand new year with no mistakes in it yet? Well, hardly any!
Let me know below and I've got the Keurig set up, delightful creamers and raw sugar. You know you love raw sugar.
I just love saying it!
What's the plan, Stan? Answer and I'll tuck your name into the cowboy hat for this latest Shepherd's Crossing book... and a favorite of readers nationwide already!
Multi-published, award-winning inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is living the dream of writing books that touch the heart-- and soul-- and leave the reader wanting more. Book #50 will be published in 2019 and she is over-the-moon about that! Find her on facebook or Twitter as Ruth Logan Herne, stop by her website ruthloganherne.com and email her at loganherne.com to sign up for her newsletter or just to chat. She's a people person most days, as long as caffeine and chocolate are involved!