At the end of last year, around bloggyland, there was a lot of discussion about plotting versus pantsing; every award/meme contained a question about it. People fall into one camp or the other... and I'm a definitely pantser. The following story of my WIP will make fellow pantsers glad they're not me, and give plotters a good laugh.
In November I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo. It came in at 150 words over the goal, and I was amazed I'd got so far. I'd been completely ready for a fail.
The aim was to rewrite it over the winter, read and edit and redraft over the spring, and submit by late summer. Yeah, right! Luckily, winter is dragging on so I'm still within my goal, but I'm still firmly in first draft mode because I keep changing my mind over the story I'm telling.
The novel starts with an explosion at a hotel which kills a couple of people. The subsequent stories were interwoven and the characters falling over each other - that was the original way it was written. When that got tough, I sieved out the individual stories, starting each one at the same moment in time - in this case, one week after the explosion and then looking back over the past week.
The trouble with this draft was that one week wasn't enough to tell the story, and I found myself writing in future tense. I thought hey this is wacky and experimental and literary - this is definitely my Booker winner. But, reader, it wasn't easy. Maybe if I'd only been going a couple of days into the future I could have pulled it off, but the original story covered the whole year after the explosion not just the week.
Last night, as I was lulling myself into a restful sleep, I had another idea...
You weren't expecting that, were you? Oh, you were...
Anyway, it doesn't change the main premise of each of the stories I want to tell, but they are now not dependent on a rigid timeline, they will work in isolation without consideration of the other characters. One story is now free to cover the year, while another will take just a few days. I don't have to rush my coma patient into recovery, he can wallow in his subconscious for as long as he needs to.
Am I happy with this decision? Yes, I am... for now!