Kidnapped by my characters
Sometime during my many chores and many responsibilities, ideas for stories creep up on me; however, I must retain them in my mind until I am behind a computer. Why? Because I am a panster.
I don’t plot, I don’t plan and I am not organized. I don’t make detailed sheets of who my characters are and what make them up, at least, I don’t do any of these things in the beginning. I sit behind a computer and tap away at the keys. The story flows in my mind and as it goes, I write. I spend a lot of time going back and forth checking details and names so that it remains the same throughout.
When I sit down to edit then I am faced with the task of character sheets and plots. My characters are very secretive; they tend to hold back details about themselves in the beginning. It is through the writing of the story that they reveal who they are, what their motives are and the role they play in my story. So, it is only after I have finished the story can I make up a character sheet for them.
The same thing goes with my plot. I plan a story in my mind but as I write it, it changes on me and surprises me with details that I didn’t plan from the beginning. For example while writing A Fatal Indiscretion (the original story not the one for the blog) I had planned a scene where the MC and her husband are supposed to be fighting in their bedroom. I built the scene on a flaw in their relationship; the fact that they don’t communicate with each other, that is, when she starts a discussion is when he is ready to turn his back and sleep. I had all the details planned out in my mind, what he will say, what she will say, the frustration that will build up when he goes to sleep, her stomping off into the shower and reaching out to someone else for comfort. Then in the middle of the writing these characters decided that they didn’t want to fight. Instead they wanted to let out their frustrations through sex. No matter how many ways I tried writing this scene with a big argument between these two people I couldn’t get it to happen. Eventually I gave in, I allowed them to guide me and I wrote the sex scene. I believe only writers will understand what this is like; to sit down to write something following an idea or a plan and to be guided in another direction. The thing is while trying to write what I wanted to happen it felt forced and it was as if I felt my characters’ frustration, but after writing the scene they wanted me to write I felt relief.
Writing mostly brings relief to me. I write contemporary fiction and most of my stories are about things that happen to me or could’ve happened to me. I think that is what makes being a panster easier for me. I already know the story and the characters; I just need to get it written. I wrote An Unexpected Desire by the seat of my pants and I believe in the end, I over did it. The story turned and twisted and included some mystery and betrayal and soon became what I intend for it to become. I felt as though the characters had kidnapped me and made me to their bidding. This is how I feel most of the time. So, now I am editing and tweaking it to be what it was supposed to from the beginning, a lesbian contemporary romance. I know the story, it is already written. I know the characters; they are already before me. But, still I created character summaries, so that through my edits I can stay true to my summary and I could easily check back to make sure the details about the character is in keeping with the plan of the character.
So I would have to summarize this blog post by saying I have no organized writing process. I don’t even plan when and where I will write. Most times I write when I am at work, but sometimes days go by with me not writing anything. I don’t plan when I am going to write, what I am going to write and who I am going to write about. My mother calls that laziness. I call it spontaneity. What do you call it? Do you think that planning would help me to actually finish a project? Do you plan? DO you make detailed character sheets? How do they work for you?
Anjie Harrte: Romance with some Caribbean flavour
Anjie Harrte is a twenty nine year old mother of one who resides in sunny Guyana, South America. Sometime between running a small business, having a full time job and being a mother and partner she finds time to pursue her passion for creating stories. Anjie dreams up stories of contemporary fiction splashed with some romance, a little dose of murder or an ounce of suspense and sometimes when no one is looking she dashes in a little twist. When she isn’t doing any of that, she is decorating a cake, knitting a chair back or sewing her latest design. Anjie even finds time to lurk around and stalk people and pages on facebook and you too can stalk her if you like at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anjie-Harrte/ or you can follow her on twitter @anjieharrte or keep updated with her writing at http://authoranjieharrte.blogspot.com/