Sundry Posts

Planner or Pantser

typewriter-377042_1280Its been while since I’ve checked in with my current writing projects.

The good news is I am still writing.

That is always good news.

Of course with good news, comes the not as good news. My novel has hit a snag or I have hit a wall or something.

Normally when things get a little off with my writing I have a thing that I do. I fall back to education. Either reading or looking for someone to tell me how to write something. Anything to keep the procrastination going. The truth is I don’t necessarily need to look for learning opportunities. I just need to keep writing. Lessons abound in my own work, though it doesn’t hurt to seek knowledge.

There are very good reasons to seek out other learning opportunities.

One, it gives my creative juices a boost. New information can lead to new and often better writing.

Two, I am able to connect with other writers. I’ve said this before. We cannot work alone. We NEED each other for the encouragement, connections and sometimes, fun.

Three, learning new skills is important. Writing is one of those skills that can, and needs to, continually improve. The writing I do today won’t be as good as the writing I complete tomorrow.

All that being said, I have been looking at my novel and the struggles I’ve been having with it. In looking around, I rediscovered a method of novel planning that I am attempting.

When I say I’ve rediscovered it, Randy Ingerman has been around for a while so many of you writers have probably heard of his Snowflake method for planning a novel. I’ve subscribed to his newsletter for years. The rediscovery is that I haven’t really read it for years. Sorry, Randy.

He has written a book called How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. I’m not sure if this is a print book, I purchased it as an ebook. Randy has taken a fairy tale and used it to show how to use his method. It is an interesting way to teach.

The first part of the book is the parable and the second half are the actual steps to use. I’ve read nearly all of it and now I’m impatient to begin. He begins with a one sentence summary of your novel and goes through to step by step outlining all of your scenes. There are 10 in all. I am working on step 3, which is characterization. If you are interested in at least checking out these steps, you can find them here – The Snowflake Method.

Though I’ve already written so much of my novel, my MC is no longer cooperating so I am hoping that by going through these steps, she will be a bit more willing. Even at step three, I have a much clearer picture of what is happening.

Its a lot of work to go backwards, which is essentially what I am doing, however, it won’t ever be finished if I don’t work at it. I really want to finish this novel.

There are so many ways of planning and executing a novel. The trick is to learn which one is the best for you. I wrote during NaNoWriMo and though wasn’t a complete pantser, I didn’t have so much of an outline when I wrote it. So, now I have to go back and rework so much.

The good news about this reworking is that much of what I’ve written will be useful. You know, except for those 10 chapters in the beginning that I threw out as backstory. Yeah, I did that. Hopefully, as I try this method I will have less of rewriting like that.

My next week or two, I will be spending a lot of energy working on my novel. Hopefully by the end of it the writing will flow and I will truly be able to say my novel is finished.

How do you write? Pantser or planner? Or, somewhere in between.


  • Aimee Wiley

    I’m a pantser, trying to be a planner. Writing my 10-part series to kick off my blog was a small bit of torture, but it is done, and now I look into the abyss of the unknown. What will I write next? Even so, I love the start of something new and undetermined. I’m always surprised by what flows out of me when I am obedient to place my finger on the keys.

    • AC Hoekwater

      I can empathize with the torture of starting a blog though things are a bit easier now, some days. I’m still mostly a pantser though I believe I need to change that. Thanks for stopping by.