Friday, October 7, 2011

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail


Are you a Plotter and a Planner?  Do you map out your day, your weeks, set goals for your life?  Show-off. That is how many people write. They plot and plan extensively, I’d give you all the details on how to do it except that I have no idea myself. I’ve taken workshops on how to do it. In a class of perhaps a hundred or hundreds (who knows, math is not my thing anymore than planning) I’m always the one frozen in the second row. “Wait?  What?  We were supposed to plot it out?”   

However, my thought at the time is always WHY?  Why would I spend weeks or months plotting and planning when all I have to do is click on “New Document” and start typing. I don’t WANT to know what happens next. Where is the fun in that?  I want to be every bit as surprised as the reader when we get to The End, and if I see it coming, I rewrite the whole thing. That is the rule. Surprise or revise.
I do find useful information from plotting and planning classes and workshops. Sometimes it is simply that there are some shiny streamers stuck to the air-conditioning vent on the ceiling and sometimes it is new eye-opening thoughts on story arcs and timing. Don’t get the wrong idea, I actually research extensively. It takes far longer to research a story than it ever does to write it. After that research is done, then I just jam, shove and push all that data – including the classes and workshops – through the whirring process of The Glitter Globe and let the muse rule.
Apparently when you write by the seat of your pants you are called a “Pantser”. It was a relief to finally get a diagnosis. The price for getting to skip all the plotting and planning?  Rewrites. Youch. Another cost is those detours down what are known as “rabbit trails”. That term needed no explanation for me. I adore hopping down a bunny trail that I spot while I’m barreling towards my goal - SLAM on those brakes, back up and we’re off - just gotta see what is down there. Sometimes there is a shortcut, or treasure, and sometimes it is a dead end that requires some serious backing up and covering your tracks, but – oh – what a ride! 

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