I Prefer ‘Gardener’ Over ‘Pantser’

I’m taking this week to do a final read-through of a client’s manuscript, and then I will get back to working on the prequel to Blood for Honor, The Wild Assault. I have a few things I want to change in the first five chapters, which will probably extend it to six chapters and move the plot forward in a much better way. These kinds of revisions are what ‘plotters’ say make outlining your story to be the best way to go, but I still disagree, even if it is considered ‘more work.’

I’m a ‘pantser,’ but I actually prefer the term ‘gardener.’ I like to plant seeds and see what happens. And sometimes, I have to go back and rework some things to make it the best it can be. Weeds have to be pulled, and some things may have to be replanted because they didn’t thrive like I thought they would. I never know what will happen, and that keeps it interesting.

Making outlines bores me and takes the fun out of the daydreaming and scenes that play out in my head as I’m trying to go to sleep at night. I don’t like a rigid system to conform to. It makes me antsy. Sure, it would be my outline, and I could change it as much as I want, but that seems like a waste of time. I still have a tendency to write some things down, but for the most part, I don’t actually use most of them. I have an entire journal for Blood for Honor over the course of like six years, and there is ONE PAGE with stuff that I used. And it includes notes on how the U.S. military works. Doesn’t actually have anything to do with the gist of the story, just semantics.

“A writer’s notebook is the best way in the world to immortalize bad ideas.”

Stephen King

You can watch one of Stephen King’s compilation videos here. I’m not a huge fan as a reader, but his way of writing really speaks to me. And before seeing this video, I thought I was the only person who told themselves stories in their head before bed.

All that being said, if you have a story in your heart and you are unsure of how to go about writing it, you don’t have to plan anything. Sometimes you just need to start writing. Things may not go as you think they should, but I also believe that the story wouldn’t be the same if you force your agenda on it. You gotta let it breathe. I’ve heard plotters say that ‘my characters didn’t want to do that’ is dumb because they ‘aren’t real,’ but in a way, they are.

My best piece of advice? See your characters as real people, even if people think you are crazy.

Have a fantastic week, and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and follow me to stay up-to-date when I post. All my Social Media links are at the bottom of the page, along with the Amazon link to Blood for Honor.

Many blessings,
Emma Lee Joy


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