Wednesday, January 6, 2016


 The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writers Support Group. A fabulous blog-hop. Head to the list and support some other writers today. 

You know that feeling where you're in the bottom of a swimming pool and you panic a little but you know it's okay because only have to swim to the surface? There is such sweet relief as you rise until you find yourself unable to go further because you are stuck underneath someone's stupid tire raft and for a brief moment, you think, I'm going to die while my cousin farts on my head.

No? Maybe that's just me. 

That is how I feel about this novel. I finished the manuscript and rewrote it twice. I started a third rewrite, thinking that I might be rising to the surface, only to realize I'd started the novel in the wrong place, the external conflict sucked and I'd used a character as a plot device instead of a person. 

So now I'm stuck under the raft.

I'm a pantser so I go into novels with no idea what's going to happen. I have detailed character sketches but no plot.  It's not an efficient system and I usually end up with a nonsensical first draft.  So I rewrite. Then I have a bad habit of writing again and again until I can't stand the story anymore. 

Art byFearEffectInferno
I do this because... well, I don't know how to edit. I can line edit but "big picture editing" as the kids call it, is beyond me. I feel overwhelmed and a bit thick because I can't figure it out. I need a system. My writing lobster Meika is having the same problem. Yesterday she sent me a blog post by writer Julie Dao, all about her editing process. She's a plotter but her hands-on approach to editing appeals to me so I'm giving it a shot.

I've started outlining scenes and I'm already finding it helpful. Sooooo.... I'm under the raft, fart bubbles are headed my way but I'm working up the strength to tip the damn tire, break the surface and breathe the fresh air.

I hope.


Or maybe I'll eat this chocolate strawberry pop tart and take a nap because my optimism is already waning. Sigh.

What is your "big picture" editing process?


  1. I consider myself a reformed pantser. I can't traditionally outline, but I do lots of prep work that helps me out. Whatever works for YOU! But i do find having some idea where you're headed is a huge help later on.

  2. Tip that tire first then go eat the pop tart! :)

    I'm a hybrid pantser/plotter, but I find my process does vary from project to project.

  3. Plotting things out might solve your issue with the big picture. Good for you.

  4. Great post! Brave and honest post! I too am a hybrid-pantser. Though I sit down and write and write and write, I do begin with a basic plot. My secret is a brainstorming buddy. What do we brainstorm? The main character's goals, motivation and conflict. The coflict usually gives us the antagonist's goals, motivation and conflict, because they explain what's in the way of the main character resolving their conflict... Happy pantsing!

  5. I'm a reformed pantser. Not a total plotter but not just a pantser. I've always gotten to a point in the story (usually around chapter 8) where I had to figure out where the story was going. Now I have a rough idea (not a dreaded outline) of how the story will progress. We all try different methods then settle on the one that works. I hope you find what works for you.

  6. I get stuck at "I'm going to die!" I can't make it to another observation, but you had me in stitches with yours. I'm not a plotter. I have to write to figure out what it is I'm writing. Whenever I set off with a plan, my topic hijacks me and leads me to unexpected places. But I've learned to trust my process, even if it is slow and inefficient. Sometimes it's helpful to me to set things aside and come back to them after a week or two with fresh eyes. Happy writing in 2016!

  7. Hi Christina, I'm more of a plotter, then I get to a point where I've had enough and I just have to start writing! But this does give me an outline to work with. Some people hate this but it can help you look at your plot to figure out where it is and isn't working. Try to take a step back, don't try to fix the little things, note down what your plot is doing, where it works and where it doesn't. At a very high level try to think through what you want it to do and just write a quick line or two to give yourself a plan. Hope this helps and best of luck!


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment.