M is for Meandering: Being a Pantser
I’m a pantser. That means when I write a novel, I don’t — in my case, can’t — outline. Sometimes I think of it as being like the Family Circus comic strip. Thel tells Billy to come “straight home” and his idea of straight is to take a circuitous route all over the neighborhood. It has its own direction, and it’s not necessarily the straightest point to get there.
Sometimes those meanderings turn into important things. In Miasma’s first draft, I included a scene to a place that had been destroyed by magic because I wanted to show the devastation magic can cause. The scene came out when I started to revise, but then, as the story evolved, the scene returned and became what the story was about. If I tried to outline it, I would have missed out on that meandering that led to a big discovery. Unlike outliners, the only way I can come up with scenes like that is to actually write the story and follow where it goes. It’s crazy at times, and often requires a lot of revision, but it’s what it is.
QUESTION FOR YOU: What’s your experience when you pants a novel? How does it develop? What has surprised you?