Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm A Plotter.....Aren't I?

I like to think of myself as semi-organised. 

I'm prepared for all eventualities at picnics.  I have back up plans for back up plans on holidays.  My kitchen is stocked with many and varied condiments, ingredients and enough cake tine/baking dishes to make Wilton's green with envy - all just in case I'm taken by the urge to cook 'something'.

I have always taken the same approach to writing.  I write out a brief synopsis of the story with all the major plot points and character names and then I expand on that to include all the little odd quirks that have come to me when I've been thinking about the story.  Then I sit down to write.

But this time, it was different.  I got the idea for the story but just a rough idea and instead of going through my normal process, I just started writing.  In part I'm blaming Jessica Hart (whose blog I just love) because she's published squillions of books but is so down to earth and I love how she refers to her first draft as the Shitty First Draft (SFD) and the second as the Shitty Second Draft (SSD).  The rest of the blame lies squarely on the head of Jackie Ashenden because after selling her first, second, third and fourth book in like 20 seconds, she has been encouraging me (yes, she does write her blog just for me) to be true to my own voice and writing for myself and not worrying about craft to the point where it stifles my voice.

So you see, it's not my fault at all!

With all that extremely good advice and permission to throw off the constraints of writing the perfect first draft, I may have gotten a little ahead of myself, and I just dove in.  I usually find that I can write the first three chapters without any problem, but then I start to get bogged down and by the time I reach chapter six, I'm happy to be lured off to a new project ...... *oooh look a new Hero*  I'm such a floozy.

But not with this ms.  I'm up to chapter six and it's just rolling along.  As I'm writing, what happens next just pops into my head and I end up doing my best stunned mullet impersonation and muttering: "why not?"  Miraculously, I haven't been bogged yet.  I mean I'm not kidding myself, it truly is a SFD (god bless you, Jessica). 

It remains to be seen if this process is going to work for me but I'm going with it.

My only problem is now when one of my blogger gurus ask me if I'm a plotter or a pantser, I have no idea what to reply.  A plottser?  A pantter?

Maybe I'll just reply:  I'm a SFDer and let it go at that.


Jackie Ashenden said...

Hahahaha! Elissa, you are naughty! And yes, my blog is written specifically for you! :-) But hey, is the advice working or is it working??? I'm thrilled you're rolling along and past chapter 6 without getting bogged down! So awesome. Sometimes it really works eh?
I am so with Jessica's SFD. So maybe I'll join you with being a plotter/pantser/SFD hybrid...

Good luck with your story and keep me posted on how it's going!

Elissa Graham said...

I knew it! I knew it!

*types frantically*

Okay, so I've just updated my resume: "Jackie Ashenden, author extraordinaire, wrote entire blog for my enjoyment and edification".

Oh, and being called naughty by the Queen of Badd (see how I used the cool spelling with two ds?) is high praise indeed :)