I’m writing my first 100% pantser novel. I never realised how much planning I did for a novel until I tried to write one with no plan at all. None. I started with an idea and a vague thought about where it was going. I was wrong, of course, it stopped going in the direction I was expecting at chapter 3.
Never one for writing character back-story or studies, or even plotting out chapters, I thought my approach to novel writing was pretty fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, but I always had a strong idea about where the characters would end up. So far, for the novels I’ve finished and nearly finished, they have ended approximately where I expected. It was the character journey to get there that was a mystery.
This current novel is only revealing itself to me about two chapters before it happens. I can’t help but worry that I’m writing myself into a black hole which has no end and no point. I won’t know though, until I get to the end, assuming there is an end. Apparently that’s how these things work.
Talking to other pantsers this is what happens; you give your characters life and you just document where they go. Sure they might take a few wrong turns along the way and you have to backtrack, but supposedly that’s the fun. Fun? Pantsers clearly have a different idea of what constitutes fun. I feel like I’m on an out-of-control train and I’m a little bit scared.
But the thing is, I am on a train, this novel is powering ahead so much faster than most of my planned novels. My weekly word count is currently higher than it has been for years. That feels good.
There is a little bit of me that really hopes my novel gets a good end, not because I want it to end well (that goes without saying), but because I want to know that this pantser thing works. It is more than a little bit addictive and I’d like to try it again.