on Fiction University:
Long ago I embraced the idea of being a pantser. I sit down to write a story with a vague idea of where I think it maybe, possibly, could go. There are some details that are clear in my head, others I discover along the way. But for me, that first draft is always a blend of mystery and frustration, desperation and hope.
My first drafts are always low word count and light on those fun details that make the characters and story unique. I don’t worry about whether the story holds tight or if I’ve veered off character or dropped a plot thread. I don’t edit as I write, although I do keep a notebook handy to jot notes of detours taken later in the book or details to verify or research that needs expanding on.
I think of first drafts like a ball pit … pure chaos.
Now for a confession: As much as I enjoy falling in love with a new story, I can barely contain myself to get through the first draft and to the revision stage. Despite being a pantser, in the most neurotic little niches of my being, I’m an organizer at heart. The revision stage is my happy place because that’s where we take the chaos of ideas and turn it into the magic of an awesome novel.
A few tips for what’s worked for me …