Monday, June 29, 2015

The Beauty Of Pantsing It: The Character You Didn't Expect

I've got a lot on my plate right now, but I mean that in strictly the metaphorical sense because I definitely just clean plated my breakfast. Farm eggs, man. Can't beat 'em.

The first draft of my fantasy series, GIVEN TO THE SEA, is due somewhat soon, and I also need to do an edit on my 2016 release THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, which is a rape-revenge vigilante justice contemporary. It's possible that one day I will write something where the description doesn't make people cringe a little, but don't hold your breath - that's what I keep telling my mom, anyway.

So with all this work staring me down, the coffee pot on overtime and the cats tossed outside so they can't sit on my face, I've actually been getting a lot done. The fact that it's been raining non-stop in Ohio for the past two weeks has been a big help, as my outdoor soul isn't contending with much guilt from nice breezes and warm sunshine.

All that being said, it's still work, and cranking out the words is never easy. There's always the author's biggest enemy - procrastination - staring you in the face (well hello blog post, I should write you, yes?). But what stalled me the other day was something else, something that I only have myself to blame for.

I'm a pantser, complete and total. Whenever I turn in a synopsis to agent or editor it comes with a heavy warning that some people I earmarked as survivors may actually die, and I might decide to kill those who got a reprieve in the initial concept. I also might wander down paths I didn't know existed, which is where my subplots always come from. It's a lovely thing when an organic subplot pops up, and that happened to me yesterday, in the form of a character I didn't know existed.

He had a few things to say. He's quietly masculine and made of honor, and while I only meant to give him a line or two of comfort to a stricken female, he showed up again a few chapters later and kept talking. I was like dude, what are you doing - I didn't even give you a name, so shut it. And suddenly I had to give him a name, because he kept talking to my female character and the pronouns were getting old, and once I'd given him a name I gave him a wife and a kid, and suddenly he had a subplot and possibly his creator had a little crush on him.

This is why I love being a pantser - a subplot I never intended, but neatly ties together my overall arc came about organically, nicely tied up in a cool dude with armor and a conscience.

I'll take it.

4 comments:

Artemis Grey said...

PANSTERS UNITE!!! I love being a panster for all these reasons! I've literally had main characters appear through panstering!

Erica Eliza said...

So it's been raining nonstop, and your cats are locked outside?

Debra McKellan said...

Yes, pantsing!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Artemis - definitely! The strong ones are the ones that built themselves.

EE - Ergh.... I plead guilty. But they can get onto the sunroom porch, so they're kind of spoiled anyway.

Deb - damn straight.