A Stubborn Writer

When I first started writing, I shouted from the rooftops that I was a pantster. I wrote from the seat of my pants, without an outline or character profiles. This was how I did it, and no one was going to tell me otherwise. In a sense, this made me unfaithful to the craft of writing.

All writers have their own set goals and what they want to achieve. There are writers who aren’t particular about the writing itself, as long as they produce a story readers want to read. Then there are writers like me, who focus on the writing. They want their stories rich in authenticity, to make readers laugh and cry, and in the end, satisfied with the journey. If someone didn’t like my book for whatever reason, I didn’t take it to heart so much. But if they thought my writing was bad, well then, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.

Ignoring and not attempting suggestions regarding planning and character profiles left me at a disadvantage. I stuck to my pantster ways when writing my two published novels, and although I’m proud of them, they might have been better with preparation.

Sometimes writers, especially novice ones, take offense at suggestions. They write the way they write and no one is going to tell them how to do it. This is true. No one should tell you how to write, but it’s always important to have an open mind, maybe even try out what’s suggested. Suggestions are mere guidance. It’s not set in stone.

I’ve turned towards a plantster way of writing, meaning I start with character profiles of the main characters, and then a few synopses of the chapters. I don’t do a full-fledge outline because my story will deviate from original thought. Instead, I prepare with the ingredients of the story, and the creation of the characters.

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Character Profiles

Since I’m writing romance, the characters are the driving force of the story. Character Profiles can include whatever a writer wants to include. Some profiles can get deep into the psyche of the characters, running several pages long. For my stories, I want to connect with them and too much profiling leaves me detached. Here’s what I include in my profiles.

– Date of Birth

– Parents Names

– Profile and Backstory

– Personality

– Appearance

– Voice (dialect)

– Interests (Hobbies)

– Emotional Stability

– Habits

– Quirks and Flaws

– Greatest Fear

– Dislikes

– Goals and Motivation

– First Goal

– Internal Conflict

– External Conflict

– Turning Points and Reversals (Growth and Change)

The profiles submerge me into the characters by reading and rereading them, especially when I’m working on other projects. They also assist in story and character arcs. I want my characters’ struggles to be relevant in the beginning, their flaws and habits to transform over the course of the book, and in the end, blossom from the story’s events.

Chapter Synopses

For my chapter synopses, I like to keep it simple, but make sure I have important facts and details for me to refer to. I’d hate to see a secondary character go from blonde hair in chapter one to brown in chapter fifteen without going to the salon. Here’s what I include in my summary.

– POV (if there are more POVs)

– The events of the chapter

– Characters involved

– Specific dates

– Character descriptions (mainly for secondary)

– The chapters time of year or date

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Even though I’m late to the party, doing these small preparations has aided my focus. I know my characters. I know what drives them. I know how they feel. And in return, I have faith my readers will know too.

Don’t let ego cloud your judgment and stand in the way of improvement.

Character profiles and Synopses,
Denise

2 thoughts on “A Stubborn Writer

    • Author gravatar

      Dear Denise, So interesting, from panster to planster. I have to confess I’m still panstering, but you make me think. I’m particularly moved by what you say about being judged as a ‘bad writer’, yes, that touches a chord. Your schema for planster writing is valid for pansters as well, have made a note of ll your points, don’t you think that it’s something that would really help writers who start out from their pants, but then get to the revision/rethinking process? Always a pleasure to read you chère amie 😉

      • Author gravatar

        Laurette! I just saw this now. I don’t know why I didn’t receive a notification. I’m so sorry. Thank you so much. I’m glad this was helpful. You don’t have to worry about bad writing. You are a naturally gifted writer. Yes, this would help many new writers, but unfortunately, I find new writers to be stubborn and think they know what they’re doing… *clears throat* I was one of them. LOL! Always a pleasure to see you stopped by.

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