Hey, Christian Indies,
You may or may not know this, but I am a “pantser.” This means that instead of plotting my books out, I am committed to “fly by the seat of my pants,” so to speak, a “die-hard” devotee to the idea of discovering the story as I write it. Therefore, I have never found myself in the peculiar position of being bound up in a never-ending plotting nightmare.
However, even with my limited experience, I can see how someone who has discovered the benefits and utility of the process could be inclined to “over do” plotting. How tempting would it be to just keep adding things to the outline, when you’ve created these characters that you know oh so well: you know in which hand they hold the body pouf in their hand when they shower, what their favorite brand of microwave popcorn is, and that they’ve always wanted to drive a luxury sedan. Thus, you (wrongfully!) conclude your novel must – whatever the cost to story structure – include a crying jag in the shower, a pajama party/movie night, and a trip to the Lexus dealership. Or, you find it impossible to turn off the spigot of setting or plot ideas once you’ve opened it, and you keep inventing little scenarios in which to position these unfortunate creations of your maniacal imagination.
In both scenarios, your plot just grows bigger, and bigger, and bigger and you never get around to actually writing the book, or, worse, you do attempt to write this book, and end up with something that isn’t a novel at all, but just a big wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey mass of weakly strung together occurrences.
So, how does a plotter know when “enough plotting is, (FOR REAL!) ‘enough’?” Tune in this week as our resident plotters, Jen and Rhonda – as well as Tina, who’s a self-professed “plantser” (plotter/pantser hybrid) – try to navigate this tricky topic. For special fun, we’re bringing on Rhonda’s mom, Barb, the other half of the mother/daughter writing team “Dee Dee Bouman.” They’ll talk to us about their book, “Use this Workbook to Plot Your Novel”
See you there,
PS – Just for fun, you can hear us talk about the difference between “plotting” and “pantsing” on episode 11 of the podcast to figure out which is more your style!