Monday, August 24, 2009

Pantser or Plotter...and a couple of conferences to think about

Hi all, Lynette Eason here. Over on the Faith Hope and Love loop, we’ve been talking about Plotting. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Which way is best? Is there a right way to plot a book? All good questions. Some of the answers have been very interesting. I don’t know why, but I’m just always curious about how other writers plot. I’m basically a pantser, letting the story take my characters where it will. (I like to call it intuitive writing, but whatever. I write by the seat of my pants basically…LOL.) However, because one of my editors requires a rather in depth synopsis, I’ve learned to plot the story out well enough to come up with a reasonably well-written synopsis. Not my favorite thing, I’ll admit, but if I want to sell books…well, gotta do it.

This has actually turned out to be a pretty good thing. I’ve developed an excel worksheet where I keep all of my information. My characters names, some background info and a physical description. I also can break down each chapter into scenes and whose point of view that scene is in. And the biggie. The timeline. Without that, I’m lost. If I don’t have my timeline, I end up with 46 hour days and my characters never sleep or eat. LOL.

So, I said all that to say, learning to plot has turned out to be very beneficial for me. (Not just because I need to have a plot in my stories—the editors and readers seem to appreciate that.) But also because the weekend of October 23-24, I’m teaching at the Carolina Christian Writers workshop in Anderson, SC on this topic. Plotting with Excel. It should be a great time and if you’re in the area, it’s very reasonably priced and the content is amazing for such a short period of time. A couple of other staffers are Yvonne Lehman, Les Stobbe, Linda Gilden, Director of the CLASS conference (which is going to be in New Mexico November 4-8 if anyone is interested – another amazing lineup of staff with agents and editors galore.) In NM, Terri Blackstock is teaching suspense, Nancy Moser is teaching the fiction track, Diann Mills is doing the Advanced Mentoring Workshop and there’s quite a bit of non-fiction stuff too. Check out the website and see what you think. I was supposed to teach at that one, too, but alas, no childcare. My husband will be gone that week and my parents (i.e. babysitters) will be on a cruise. I know, I couldn’t believe the nerve of them either. So, not this year. I’m sorely disappointed, but will get over it eventually. I hope. I still think it’s going to be a great event and want to give it a plug here.

I don’t have a website for the conference in Anderson, but if you want information on it, I can forward the packet to you. It’s all electronic.

So, plotting or pantsing? What works best for you? And how many conferences do you try to get to each year?

Hope I didn’t try to cram too much into one post. Plotting and conferences and overload, oh my!

Happy Monday!


Ramona Richards said...

Hi, Lynette! That's a conference I wish I could attend. I think we must have the same editor - I've always been a SOP writer (I call it "organic" - plant the seeds and see what grows), but I'm definitely being forced to pin down more details these days. I wrote my first 11-page synopsis! I've been using Excel sheets for a while (even teach a class on using them for secondary characters, etc.), but I could definite use more plotting help. Hope it's a great conference!

Leann said...

Lynette, I am a plotter...sort of. I write chapters 1-3, then the synopsis. That is my roadmap for the book. When I teach my writing class, I go over the different methods of coming up with a plot.

Lynette Eason said...

Very cool, Ramona! Yep, I think my last synopsis was in the 11 or 12 page range. Everyone says to keep it short, but I've found the longer and more detailed I get, the faster I sell.

My theory? Go with what works. LOL.


Lynette Eason said...

Leann, that's a great idea! Write the first three chapters then the synopsis. I'm laughing because the first two books I sold to SH, I wrote the entire manuscript, THEN the synopsis. So when it came time to write on proposal, I had to learn FAST how to write a synopsis, THEN the book.

Thanks for stopping in and sharing.

Barbara Phinney said...

I'm like Leann. Thre chapters, one synop, and try to get it legible.
I really need to learn to use Excel and create something like you use. That way my characters won't act like they've had plastic surgery half way through the book.