National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us. I'll be participating for the 11th year in a row and the time has come (albeit a little late) to make a very important decision. Will I be a Pantser or a Plotter this year?
For 10 years I've been a Pantser, meaning I've flown by the seat of my pants. I've done a little planning in my head the month before NaNo, maybe grabbed a photo or two from the internet of people who looked like my characters and then hit the ground running come November 1st. It's worked fairly well, I've always managed to get all 50K words in by the November 30th deadline. The race to the finish line was always a sprint since the gas tank usually hit empty around the 15th.
I would plod along for about 13 of those last 15 days and then have an "oh shit!" moment around midnight on the 27th or 28th. Cue guzzling all the coffee I could pour down my throat and frantically typing away, adding all the adjectives and fluffy dialogue I could think of to round out my word count.
But not this time. I have a lot on my plate. And honestly, I'm ready to try something new. This year, I'm going to be a Plotter. I'm going to take the time to make an outline, real character sheets, and have a clear beginning, middle and end set before I hit the keyboard on 11/1. I have a feeling that with adequate planning, I can avoid hitting the wall halfway through and write something that's ready to edit come December.
The novels I've written in the past haven't been bad. They've been scattered and have meandered a bit and been a little more piecemeal at times than I'd have liked them to be, but they weren't terrible. If I go back to them, I can shape them, add to them, and craft them into something that can be edited. But I hope that if I'm a Plotter that I can just go back to it and not worry about the crafting, shaping and adding.
Right now my novel is tentatively titled Space Cadet. That will change since 'Space Cadet' is the name of the fictional movie series in last year's NaNo novel. As a lifelong science fiction fan, it's about time I wrote a science fiction novel. There will be some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) political commentary, humor, the whole nine. I'm really looking forward to writing it.
Tomorrow I'm determined to start filling in the steps of the Snowflake Method that I can before I actually start writing content for the novel. I'd never heard of it before my NaNo buddy Chris introduced it to me, but it's a helluva thing. If you're a writer of any sort, Pantser or Plotter, I highly recommend giving it a look. It's a great way to keep track of your thoughts and your story.
The first step of the snowflake method is writing a one sentence summary of your novel. Tune in tomorrow to see what that summary is.