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Going from panster to plotter

Someone asked me recently if I was a plotter or a panster. In other words, do I outline and plot my stories and poems before writing or fly by the seat of said pants? I think I’m somewhere in the middle. I usually have an idea of where the piece is going and make a few notes along the way, but mostly I just write. And rewrite. And rewrite some more.

But things are changing. Since my next book is fantasy, it will require more planning than my memoir. Also, I don’t want to take as long to write my next book. I’m hoping to shave off a few years. (Yes, seriously, years).

Since I’m in new territory and expanding my comfort zone, I’m using some aids along the way to help me brainstorm, plan, and outline.

Instead of squelching my creativity, I think by outlining and planning, I’ll actually have more room to be creative because I won’t be so anxious wondering where my story is going.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I am:

First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner.  I love the sample forms in this book for developing character, plot, setting, etc. It offers a timeframe for outlining your idea.

The Novel Writer’s Tookit: From Idea to Best-Seller by Bob Mayer. Whatever I’m writing, I keep this book on my desk. I can flip through it at random and gain an insight or kernel of wisdom. This book reminds me what to stay focused on and what’s important.

The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within by Alan Watt.  This gem is full of questions and ideas that I can ask myself about all aspects of my story and characters. Perfect for brainstorming and using for timed writes in order to dig deep.

If you have any favorite outlining aids, please share in the comments below.

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