Sometimes I Really Hate Being a Pantser

Sometimes I really hate being a pantser.

I've reached what I figure is about the 1/3 point in Knight Vision. Thirty-two thousand words. The story is set up. The complications are set up. And suddenly, I had no idea what came next. In other words, what came next was too boring to write. (This is my version of writer's block.)

I thought about switching to another project to give everything time to gestate. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't.

I also really hate that I'm not one of those people who can take a walk or mow the lawn or do the dishes while I think about my plot. If I were, I'd have a tidy, tidy house. But no. When I do household chores, it's like my brain fills up with white noise. All conscious thought disappears. The evidence suggests subconscious thought also takes a vacation.

One of my resolutions this year (okay, the resolution started when I finished Liar, Liar, Heart's Desire, so it really started last year) is that I'm going to write a minimum number of words every month. I'm already behind for January. (In all fairness, one reason is that I've been fixing a minor plot hole my editor found in LLHD, so the reason isn't laziness.) But being behind on my word count makes switching stories unappealing because it takes a day or two to switch gears which would put me further behind. I was just about ready to do it anyway, but then I decided to give Knight Vision one last shot.

Part of my problem was that one of the major complications with my story looked like it was headed for a dead end. It was a worthy idea, but I wasn't on the right track to make it payoff.

So I took a timeout.

I sat down with no distractions and let my mind wander. I thought about why I was bored with the story. I thought about what my characters--particularly my antagonist--would try to do to salvage a situation that's forcing him away from his goal (and pretty much out of the story in any meaningful way.) I asked myself what would he do if he was smarter.

And . . . Eureka!

In about five minutes.

I really need to do that more often.

I flipped my complication on its head and things  . . . Just. Got. Really. Interesting.

Sometimes I really love being a pantser.

How do you break through when you realize your story has no place interesting to go?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a pantser, I'm a plotter, but my genre pretty much requires that. If I hit a bit of a road block, I just step away, do something else, and come back to it later.