…And I’m back! This will be short, so let’s dive right in.
A little while ago, I finished the first draft of The House of Lust and Candor (THOLAC). This book was a little bit different than previous books I’ve written in many regards. In short, this post will be about the lessons I learned from THOLAC.
Anyone who’s read my blogs or knows me in writing circles understands that I’m a prominent pantser and a staunch naysayer of plotting. But in crafting THOLAC, I had to stretch beyond my normal bounds. Not all of the book was written on my personal computer due to … reasons, and I often found it challenging to write without perusing my notes.
I knew the general gist of where the story would lead, so this presented the perfect opportunity to try my hand at plotting. That said, I undertook this new task the same way I approached a story: I pantsed it. No, the notes weren’t detailed, nor was every nuance figured out well in advance. No, any major plot twists weren’t written down, and all roads led to it. In fact, I only touched on the broad strokes of where the story would go, and I selected each major point to a specific chapter; that way, when I sat down, I could just focus on getting to the meat of the story for the defined parameters. What ensued was laser focus writing.
So, what did I learn? That plotting out the broad strokes is actually helpful. I wrote about 70,000 words in 3 weeks. Is it the fastest I’ve ever written? No, but it came close. When I get into a seam of writing, my fingers fly over the keyboard, and it doesn’t matter if I’m pantsing or going from plotted points; I’m just in the moment.
The only downside to writing so much in a short time is burnout, not with writing but with the story. So, I did what I do best, I recharged my batteries with a shift in focus and edited another project. With that task complete, I came back to THOLAC and finished it out with my traditional pantsing method.
So, what does that mean for me moving forward? Well, I probably will dabble with plotting a bit more. I’m a discovery writer at heart, and it all starts with the characters. If I understand them, I know the story. I won’t get that from plotting, but I can define the parameters of the tale with some forethought.
That said, I’ve already started brainstorming and plotting the sequel. I’ve got some interesting notions to explore and answers to find. I would like to sit down and just knock out the storylines, and I might be able to. Only time will tell…
That’s it for this round, short and sweet. I shall return…
If you enjoyed this content, check out my books, The Bearer of Secrets, Mark of the Profane, The Demon’s Fate, The Dark Portal, For Heathens of Heaven, and Flawed to the Core: Building Memorable Characters and Writing on Amazon. All works are available on Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and print. Reviews can be found on Goodreads and Amazon.
One thought on “THOLAC—First Draft Lessons.”
Yay for blending styles!
I remember hearing about a milestone approach where you know that in the next chapter / section, you have to get to point A… but you don’t know exactly how all the dialogue or action will move the characters that way. (Plus you probably have to be willing to throw point A out and adjust course if something better comes out naturally.)
It seemed like a good blend of plotting and pantsing. Your description sounds like a little less plot and more discovery along the way, but go with what works for you, right?