Pantsing

By | April 5, 2008 | 2 Comments

It’s a gloomy morning in Hoboken, and while I’m enjoying the nifty little weather icon in my AWN Dock I just installed on my Kubuntu desktop (I lurves the eye candy, even though whenever my friend Jeof Vita sees my desktop he accuses me of secretly wanting a Mac, which infuriates me) the tiny clouds are a little grim to my eye. I’ve been going through a bit of home-improvement fever, too, resulting in much aching and sleepiness. Nothing like wiring up three or four new light fixtures, along with the accompanying drywall repair and painting, to make one feel one’s age.

In the writing front, I’m almost done with the seat-of-my-pants first draft of Avery #3, about 3-4 chapters from the very end. Thus, writing has slowed to a crawl. This always happens to me. I like having a lot of blacktop out in front of me, with vague but blurry ideas of where things are going and lots of room for sudden ideas and twists. Once I get to the very last few inches I generally know exactly what’s going to happen, and actually writing it becomes something of a chore, somehow.

I don’t like to plot out too much, or do outlines, or anything like that. The technical term, I’ve learned, is Pantsing(1). Some people plot, some people write by the seat of their pants, just making it up as they go. I Pants. Plotting just makes me sick, to paraphrase Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles.

So, 3-4 chapters to go and it’ll probably take me 3-4 years to finish. Just kidding, editors and agents who might be reading this! Damn, I wonder if this is what J.D. Salinger’s been up to for 60 years? One chapter to go and he just can’t bring himself to finish?

Yes, I just brought up Salinger in connection with myself. I am going to be punished. For hubris.

(1)This is appropriate since I spend so much time searching for lost pants, and going about pantsless.

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2 Comments

  • For someone who Pantses, The Electric Church is awfully well-plotted — suspiciously so, you might say.

    Anyway, I just finished the book, and I have to give you major, major kudos, dude. TEC is full of thrills and chills and unexpected plot twists and turns that keep you page-turning deep into the night. Avery Cates is a gunfire-happy Indiana Jones-type that you can’t help but root like crazy for. I lovedlovedloved this novel.

    Can’t wait for The Digital Plague!

    OK, enough praise for one day.

    -Frank

  • jsomers says:

    Frank,

    Hey–thanks! I really appreciate you reading it, and for taking the time to post about it here. I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

    Plot: Well, TEC did go through a much longer development than my work normally does. First draft in 1993, so we’re talking about 13-14 years of at least subconscious thought on the plot, after all. Glad it *seems* well-plotted!

    best
    J

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