Posts Tagged ‘writers’

Plotter Plus Pantser Equals…

In the writing community, people loosely identify as either a plotter or a pantser (sometimes spelled pantzer). Some people plot out an entire book before they write it, and others fly by the seat of their pants.

Here is what I said recently on a writer’s board:

I was going to stand up and be counted with the pantsers, but I realized it’s probably not entirely true. At the bottom of my working document is a couple paragraphs of “and then this happens.” Not really paragraphs, almost bullet points.(For example, the WIP – paranormal erotic romance, and I’m 6K words in – the plan currently says “Reunion sex. Next day road trip (his car). Estate sale. Dirty, ask discount. Saleslady strange – young/old. Looks through M., then agrees.”)

I don’t always stick to it – sometimes things happen to the characters while I write, and entire subplots bloom or die. I change the “and then this happens section” whenever the story changes. After I write a scene, I delete the item from the plan. So when I finish writing the reunion sex, I’ll erase that line and start writing the road trip… unless the heroine pulls a muscle during the reunion sex and decides to surf eBay instead of being active. 😉 Then I’ll change the plan to read “eBay. Looks dirty. Asks discount. Seller has same name as M’s great great grandmother.”

Doing it that way means I almost never get writer’s block. I always have a plan for what’s going to happen next, and even if the writing is pure torture and I end up trashing it later, *something* gets on the page.

One of these days I’m going to copy the original two or three paragraph blurb just to see how drastically it changes from concept to completion 😛

As usual, the cherry on top came from another writer, a person I only know as “Tiff.” She suggested people like us be known as… plotzers.

My Jewish grandmother would have laughed. I sure did. Other writers rock!


I’m Kathleen Freaking Dienne

Warning: The link contains language that is NSFW (not safe for work, if you’re new to acronyms). I don’t know why you’d be visiting an erotic romance author’s website if the f-bomb troubled you, but better safe than sorry.

At any rate. Kate Harding is a wonderful writer. She writes essays and blogs on feminism, fat acceptance, and more. I came to her site originally when I was asking Google for help with a friend’s situation – his wife had been a big woman before they got engaged, lost a lot of weight right before he proposed, and was back up to her normal weight before the wedding, and I was trying to tell him “Dude, this is the shape she is and all the weight loss tricks and products aren’t going to change that in the long run.” Kate says that with biting wit and incisive observation.

But what got me going most recently was this link, which was actually in response to someone else.

Women, generally speaking, waste so much time with self-deprecation. We don’t wait for the world to dismiss us. We come up with all the reasons why we’re not good enough to be successful. That’s some seriously internalized bull doots, right there. But wait, there’s more.

Erotic e-publishing is something nearly everyone does under a pen name. Some of us are doing it to protect professional reputations in other fields. But here’s the thing – out of all the various types of publishing, erotic e-publishing is the only genre where other writers sniff and say “Oh, you’re not really published.” Oh? I’m not? I’ve got a contract with Harlequin that says I am. “The standards are lower with erotic e-pubbing, anyone can break in.” There are a lot more e-pubs out there, because the demand for these stories is so high. New publishers that can’t pay well due to the lack of volume do exist – but at least they exist. New publishers don’t try to open in other genres nearly as often.

It’s for women, written by women, published by women, and acknowledges the sexuality of women, and therefore no one takes it seriously as art or commerce, despite racking up some of the most respectable and fastest growing sales numbers in the industry. And the people who write it do half the dismissing.

No. Today, I am Kathleen Freaking Dienne.

Categories: Thinking Tags: , , ,

A Writer’s Mental State

March 30, 2010 4 comments

I was doinking around on Absolute Write instead of writing last night, because my story sucks. I still met my word goal for the night, but those words were all boring. The story is boring. No one could ever possibly want to read it. Fortunately, there’s a chart for this.

The AW poster said this chart is courtesy of a science fiction author named Maureen McHugh. I am now going to purchase one of her books because A) science fiction author, B) I owe her one now.


March 18, 2010 2 comments

Some days, I want to be a Writer. By that, I mean “one who has written, and is now collecting royalty checks.” The whole “Writer” thing involves fuzzy daydreams and interviews with magazines and has nothing to do with reality. I know in reality, we’re writers with a lower case W, and that means we have to write. It’s a slog, sometimes. It’s not hard work in the sense that digging ditches is hard, but it’s still work. This morning I don’t feel like working. But if writing were my paying job, I would have to do it whether I felt like it or not. And I want it to be my paying job. It could be, if I put in the time and stop getting wrapped up in daydreams involving elegant hats.

But this morning I’d much rather be a Writer than write.

The Author Next Door

March 3, 2010 1 comment

I had the privilege of being on a conference call yesterday with many of the authors that Carina has signed to date. We were gathered to meet the team at Harlequin HQ that is behind this new imprint/press, and to talk about some of the initial marketing plans for our stories. It was interesting, but what I really loved was hearing the voices of the other authors.

Voices are not reliable indicators of anything but vocal cord length and possibly cigarette addiction, but I still came out of the meeting with some impressions. The authors of Carina vary from their 20s to possibly their 60s. We live from Australia to Canada to California to Maryland. There are people with perfect television news diction, and people with rural drawls. Some of us are gregarious, and others are painfully shy. (Some of us are painfully shy but have faked vivacity for so long that we can fool people.) There are established writers, and there are people who just made their first sale.

There’s no single type at all.

Most of you reading this probably found the link from a writer’s forum where we both hang out. Some of you might be struggling with doubt. I know I do. But here goes:

If you have completed a work of fiction, you are a writer. There’s no graduation ceremony, and you don’t get a badge. But you are still a writer. If someone buys your work, you are a published writer.

Sometimes I feel a little silly, writing. A writer ought to have a pot of tea or a glass of bourbon sitting beside them on a clean oak desk that gleams with the patina of age. A writer should be intellectual and be able to quote important books. I am certain that jackets with leather elbow patches are involved somewhere.

Right now, my desk (some kind of brown wood from Crate and Barrel) features:

– A box of crayons I took from my son when I realized he was feeding them to the dog.

– A bottle of antibacterial kitchen cleaner I took from my son when I realized he had figured out how to drag a ladder to the laundry room shelf where such things are stored. (In his defense, he was cleaning up dog barf. A two year old cleaning up dog barf ends up needing to be cleaned, though.)

– Holding up the printer is a heap of papers with things like “IRA statement” and “dental insurance” and “thank you for your donation” on them.

– Under the paper heap is a single fork even though I promised my husband I would stop eating at the computer.

– Ink pens are corralled in a plastic photo mug featuring a picture of myself in college, flashing the peace sign,  surrounded by my friends.

– A framed snapshot of my husband taken the day I realized I had fallen in love with him.

– A toy car taken from my son, or more accurately, the floor after he chucked it at the dog.

– Fourteen sticky notes are plastered on the CPU case, featuring ideas for marketing, plot points, books I want to read, and the exact longitude and latitude of my house so I can look up which satellites are passing overhead on any given night.

– A half-eaten banana.

I’m still a writer. So are you.

Categories: Thinking Tags: ,