One of the big questions that invariably comes up if you get a bunch of writers together is “Pantser or Plotter?” I have always been a plotter. Always. I put a ton of forethought into each book, chapter outlines, character sketches, plot points and themes…blahblahblah.
Until my current WIP, Moonwitched. I took off work between Christmas and New Year’s so I could FINISH the book. I only have four chapters left. And yes, as of today I still have the same four chapters left as back then. *sigh* I can make all the everyday-life excuses—overtime at work, getting the paperwork started for going back to college in July, becoming deathly ill with the flu, changing critique partners and webmistresses. That’s definitely cutting into writing time.
But that’s not it.
It should have been simple and straightforward—it’s all mapped out, chapter by chapter and scene by scene. I know where I’m going. I know who does what and where they all end up. I should have just been able to tear through the darn thing and had it on my editor’s desk just after New Year’s. I’m STILL on Chapter Twelve.
Because a weird thing happened. I started out rereading it from the start, just to vet it. And my evil muse whispers, “Valkyn’s a father separated from his sons—he’d miss them. He needs to think about them more…how about here…and here? Mari needs to cast another spell of protection for the children…here would be good. Matteo’s sick of Imani’s manipulation and needs to have it out with her…right about here—no, here’s better.”
And on and on it goes. It’s growing from the inside out. Getting fleshed out and longer—more character depth, stronger motivation—but no closer to the end. GRRR!
The book’s getting better, no question. But where the heck is THE END?
I’ve NEVER been a backloader before. I’ve always been a frontloader. My only rewrites usually come from critique partners’ comments (tweaking, never rewriting) and during edits. Until now. I feel like a cyberneticist, turning a human into a cyborg one bionic part at a time. Insert here, beef up there, clarify this, move that. Gene-splicing—to get a “new and improved” baby. My hardcore notes feel more like guidelines. Thank you, Captain Barbosa. What the heck happened to the diehard plotter? It feels like dithering. But this book won’t be rushed.
Is it some subconscious maneuver to stall b/c this is the LAST book in the Guardians of Light series and I don’t want to let go? Braeca’s story in the Daughters of the Guardians series is all ready to go—and I can’t get Moonwitched off the stage for the second act to start. (My friends will tell you I overthink everything—right, Adam? Chris?) I know I will finish this book, like all the others. And it’ll be great. Chapter Twelve can’t last forever.