Okay, today I finally said “Enough!” I roamed around Grammarly enough to turn off some of the nonsense stuff. Still gave me nonsense stuff, but I had to run a spell-check to find all the $^&*# typos! They were becoming a serious distraction. I spelled one word wrong so often I added it to Word’s autocorrect.
I stopped checking for typos while I was cycling on this book because it was introducing my inner critic to the cycling. But that fix caused different headaches, so I’ll have to think about what I want to try instead. This book was also the first one I drafted in Word. The rest of the books were done in Scrivener. But I got so frustrated with the problems from it—Word is at least more stable. When I replaced my computer, I didn’t bother to reinstall Scrivener.
But I’m happy now. I weed-whacked my way through about 300 spelling errors.
Time for the Pantsing Tip: Research!
Research is one of those things that confounded me (enough that I’ll eventually be doing a book on it). Everyone tends to treat it like it’s college homework, or lovingly spending a year before writing the book. For a pantser, it’s a challenge. If you don’t know where your story is going, how do you research?!
Hmm. Grammarly’s suggested substitution for pantser was “more pants.”
When I did Rogue God, I did the research before I wrote the story. I researched the setting in every book I could find at the library, bought some, and even went to the University of Maryland. My creative side bounced around all over the place and I thought there would be a painting and an art auction in the book. So I researched auctions, found these auction books at the library sale, thought I might attend one. I researched paintings as well, and forgery, and art theft.
Then I made first contact with the story.
Used none of the research.
The key for pantsers is to start with things that you already know. I suppose that’s “Write What You Know,” a horribly misinterpreted piece of writing advice.
Basically, it’s anchoring your story around something big that you’re already an expert in so you’re not building research from the ground up. For example, when I did my GALCOM Universe series, I started with my military experience. Then I used a recent cruise I’d taken as more experience. From there, when I wrote the story, research became when I needed it, and usually not that much.
Writer Tamara Pierce was the guest of honor at a con I attended. She talked about reading about the medieval knights as a child, and all that reading became expertise that you see in her Tortall books.
Everyone is an expert in something. Even if it’s just the city where you live.
For this one, you can get a lot more information on how to do research the way a prolific professional writer and non-outliner does it by checking out Dean Wesley Smith’s Classic Research in Fiction Writing. He doesn’t mention it as a requirement, but since I’ve taken both workshops, I think you’ll need the Depth one first.