Writing By The Seat Of The Pants Part II

So a couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how I was writing this novel (fourth in my Crosspointe series) by the seat of my pants and that I had no ending in sight. Here’s that blog if you are interested. I told you then that I’d have an update for you and that I hoped to be done by now. Alas life has interfered and I ended up in the ER with a pinched nerve and have been mostly not writing much for the past week and a half. Unhappily, neither my drug induced haze nor my lack of sleep have helped me see a glorious ending either.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t learned something. I think. Somehow or other, I’ve arrived at the notion that this book is good. I like it. And that I will bring the ending together in a satisfying way. I have faith. And I’ve learned that sometimes when you’re writing, faith might be all you have as you put the words down and plow through the story. You have to have faith in your abilities as a story teller, faith in your story, in your characters and faith in your abilities to sense fractures and plotholes and plot crevasses and so on. Faith is hard to come by for writers. We doubt ourselves all the time. Faith is an act of will and I’m willing with all my heart.

But the good thing is, most of us are working with a net. She’s called the editor (or he, but in my case, she). She’ll point out the problems to me. I trust this. I hate to hear it mind you. I want the manuscript to be perfect, golden and shiny and not need a single word of polishing, but it ain’t ever going to happen. Not for me anyhow. So I know if this ending doesn’t happen to work, she’ll tell me so and offer suggestions to fix it.

I also have several other nets. My agent, who will read and make comments, as well as several beta readers who will offer excellent feedback. So though I should be panicking (who can panic while downing hydrocodone and gabapentin?) I’m thinking I’m pretty well set. As long as I can get the work done.

So now I’m going back to work. Another update next time around.

Oh, and for those of you in the US–Happy Fourth of July!

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  1. 1. Margaret Y.

    Do you think it’s easier to write without an outline after you’ve already written several novels? I think there comes a point where we internalize a lot of things, and we know where the big turning points should come in the manuscript and approximately how many scenes it should take us to get there. Also, perhaps experience brings more confidence that we can get through those scenes and get to those turning points.

  2. 2. Robby Charters

    In my case I find it increasingly easier to write from an outline, after having started out writing by the “seat of my pants”. Doing the latter wasn’t so bad though. Some of the most exciting bits come when you write yourself into a corner, and the solution just “comes”. If one tries too hard to think ones way out, it’ll be contrived. The subconscious does a much better job of it.

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Author Information

Diana Pharaoh Francis

Diana Pharaoh Francis has written the fantasy novel trilogy that includes Path of Fate, Path of Honor and Path of Blood. Path of Fate was nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. Recently released was The Turning Tide, third in her Crosspointe Chronicles series (look also for The Cipher and The Black Ship). In October 2009, look for Bitter Night, a contemporary fantasy. Diana teaches in the English Department at the University of Montana Western, and is an avid lover of all things chocolate. Visit site.

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