I’m a pantser. Always have been. I hear a voice, or imagine a scene, and off I go to the laptop, fingers typing furiously as I try to grab a hold of the story being woven inside my head with each new word I write. It’s terrifying and exhilarating and I figured that was the way it would always be. It was my jam.
Then I got this idea to write something I’d never attempted before. Not going to tell you what it is because I’m a bit superstitious. But I will say that it is an ambitious endeavor and if nothing else I’m learning from it.
So why am I here? With my pantsing self? Well, turns out I can’t just go with the flow and wait to figure things out with this one. I have to PLAN. The kind of planning that requires visuals. How did I get to this conclusion? When I tried to write it the way I’m used to and hit a big bump that caused me to stall in my progress. I knew fairly quickly what I needed to do in order for this story to come together. And there was no way I was going to abandon it because the spark refuses to be put out and it’s growing by the day.
What did I do?
The other day I went to the store and got myself a board, then some index cards, tape, and pens (I will find any excuse out there to purchase new pens). Then I came home and started working on a story board. Which I have never done before. I took out those index cards and started working. From the characters’ names, their physical traits, as well as personality traits, to the plot points, and world building. I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore when I started taping up all my index cards. I kind of had an author identity crisis.
How could I, a self proclaimed pantser, betray myself by actually PLANNING AHEAD? Who had I become?
The truth is, it actually helped. A lot. I don’t have the whole thing figured out. The outline is still pretty basic, but it is so much more than I usually do when it comes to my writing. I’m growing, I’m experimenting, and I’m finding my groove. The fact is, with every new project you undertake, you find that what worked before doesn’t really fly anymore. You have to figure out new ways to make the story come to life, for it match the vision in your head.
That’s the scary part about writing. It never gets easier. It’s always changing. Especially when you’re growing into your craft. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the story board making with my next book, but I do know that right now it’s what works. And I’m up to trying most anything (not including stealing, or cheating or any kind, or murder) in order to get the words out.