To Pants or Not to Pants
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Damn, some days writing is just hard!
I have a confession to make, I am a Pantser.
For those of you who don't know what that means, it implies that I write by the seat of my pants. I do not plan things out. I don't write synopsis, I don't have outlines, I don't have character profiles written out. There are times that it's no big deal. For example, the first story I got published flowed out of me in a three day torrent. I just puked it on the page. Hell, even my first novel (DUE OUT IN SEPTEMBER!) was 100% Pantsed.
Pantsed is a word now. Deal with it.
As that launch day looms ever closer, I have started work on my second novel. This is where the struggle gets real. I have been wrestling with this plot for months upon months. It has evolved and changed and been scrapped and redone. It refuses to be Pantsed.
There are probably other more experienced and accomplished authors out there that are laughing at me as they comb over their 90 page outlines, or their reams of detailed lore that goes back for centuries.
I get it now. Sometimes you just can't Pants.
While "Existence" is a pretty straight forward adventure affair, I am hoping to accomplish more grandiose goals with what I am currently calling "Rattlesnake Ridge". You see, I am a huge fan of the Adventure Thriller. I am currently in the middle of "The Bone Labyrinth" by James Rollins, and hot off the heels of "Tyrannosaur Canyon" by Douglas Preston. These kinds of books are filled with action, adventure, mystery, conspiracy and plot twists. Action and Adventure, I can Pants all day, ery day (as my students say), but the latter three? That takes planning. Even...dare I say...outlining...*gasp!*
If you were to ever meet my lovely girlfriend, she would likely tell you that our biggest argument came about when we were planning a recent trip. She just wanted to wing it! Can you imagine? Wing it!? I was frustrated that we had no plans as to where we were staying, when we were leaving, when we were getting back, or even where we were going!
Yes. I see the irony.
I like to plan my life out. A lot. But that is the opposite for the fictional worlds that I write in.
Well, you outliners and lore keepers out there will be happy to know that today I sat down with a cup of coffee and outlined the first half of this novel. It's rough. Not super detailed. But it works. And it has given me a much better grasp of how my seemingly disparate plot threads all tie together. It helped me to cut the fat from my original thoughts and hone my story into something more manageable.
I always kind of looked at outlining as a waste of time. Just valuable hours spent doing something that wasn't putting real words to the page. But, as I said earlier, I get it. Now, better than ever. While I am still likely to Pants the shit out of some short stories, I learned a valuable lesson today.
Sometimes its okay to take your Pants off.