Publication date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
A young man ventures to his lost love’s childhood home in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine. When a sudden accident puts him off-course, he awakes to discover a lively and vibrant culture living in a nearby village and a woman who reignites his heart. But something sinister lurks in the shadows, and he must face the terror and help defend the village from evil before it is lost forever. Go beyond the tragedy of Chernobyl and discover the magic in the City of Roses.
Guest Post: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I feel like I need to start this with a support meeting quote. “Hi, my name is Donovan, and I’m a recovering pantser.”
I’m an idea guy. Sometimes I’ll walk around the house and blurt out some random, farfetched, and totally non-structured idea. I’ll keep talking about it until I feel like even my cats can’t sleep through my nonsense anymore. Then, I’ll start jotting down ideas in a notebook. Character names. Places. Weapons. Names of cultures. Ship names. Pick my favorites. Once that’s done, I have a journal of convoluted insanity that will one day find itself strewn across a book.
So that’s step one. Easy, right? It’s like writing an org chart based on the back cover blurb. Simple. Cool, let’s move on to step two: writing an outline. Plotting.
Right, so after I ignore that completely I just start writing the book. I try so hard to be a proper plotter, really I do. Look at that journal of insane ramblings that I already put together! Surely, I can just do a chapter-by-chapter outline of events from the start to the—
I just start writing. Sometimes, what I write is just a teaser trailer. I’ll send out a few pages to my friends. It might be an introduction, or chapter one, or never in the book at all, but it establishes the tone. The setting. The hook. If my friends then all threaten me because they want to know what happens next, I have a winner.
Which brings me to step three, which is really just trying to do step two again.
Keep writing. Use the teaser or don’t. Write the book. See where it goes. Every character has a voice and a personality. They’ll direct me. I’ve heard other writers say this, too, and even though I also let my characters guide my story I could not begin to explain to a sane person how this process actually works. It just does. One of the voices in my head whispers the direction the story will take, and I go there. Good idea, crazy me!
But then something interesting happens, usually once I’m somewhere between a third to a halfway through the book. The epiphany moment where I realize I’m writing an actual story that is in some way, shape, or form going to end up for sale somewhere. Step four, which is really just step three trying to be step two: plotting how this book actually ends.
So, fine. I write an outline. If by that point I’ve written five to ten chapters, I figure out how many are left and write little descriptions for each one. That process, though? That’s just to appease my crumbling writer self-esteem, which by this point in the process has thrown itself beside Wayne and Garth and chanted “we’re not worthy! [to write this book]” at least four times.
It’s not even an outline. Real outlines would be furious with my outlines. “Chapter Six: battle.” That’s my outline. It’s nothing more than a guide so that I can finish the setup, write my hooks, and roll into the next scene. It’s a method to calming my madness so I can write a chapter or two today and nod my head, feeling like I accomplished something. So I can be worthy.
After all that, could I even call myself a plotter? Not faithfully, no. But even though my “outlines” are ridiculously vague placeholders, they lead me in the direction I need to go. They tell me what’s next. Most importantly, they tell me how much is left. My Netflix writing strategy: eighteen chapter episodes in this season. One down, seventeen to go.
And if the end result is an incoherent mess of words resembling English without a clear and logical progression, I get to use the Hollywood line: “whatever, I’ll fix it in editing.”
I probably should have outlined this post before writing it. Ugh, I’m totally a pantser.
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