I’m currently deep into the first draft of my WIP, and I was finding that my inspiration was starting to wane. I started out strong, 30,000 words in just a couple of weeks. I had a good beginning outline of what I wanted to accomplish, and it was easy to get the words on the page, creating the characters and the world. But somewhere around 35,000 words, I started to lag. Getting the words on the paper was like torture, I was lucky to get 500 words done a day, and it didn’t come easily.
And then I realized. I didn’t know where the story was going next. I mean I had an ending in mind, but it was getting from point F to point Z that was killing me. So I decided to regroup. I wrote an Act 2 outline, from where I was in the story, mapping it out to the end, and shockingly, it worked! I was able to sit down and hammer out a couple of thousand words yesterday.
Until recently, I was a pantster (write by the seat of your pants), I couldn’t write using an outline, I felt like it stifled my creativity and I loved to see what my subconscious mind came up with. But for my last two books, I’ve needed at least a rough outline, a synopsis of sorts that gives me an overview of what I want to happen and what those major landmarks look like. And evidently, now I need to revise that outline as I go, based on what I’ve written. It’s all very different from what I’m used to, but I think it’s working better for me right now. My first draft is still rough, but I can get the words out because I know where I’m going. It’s kind of like having a map when you visit a strange city. You might not use it all the time, but it’s handy to have when you’re feeling lost.
How about you? Are you a pantster or an out liner? Or maybe a bit of both?