People often ask how writers come up with their stories. Most writers fall into one of two categories: Plotters or Pantsers. (Though many writers are combinations of both.) A plotter is someone who sits down and writes out the plot of a novel before they begin writing. Some writers plot everything—every plot twist, every scene. Other writers are “pantsers” because they write from the seat of their pants with almost no idea of what’s going to happen.
I’m a pantser. I sit down to write the story and have no idea where it’s going. I rely on my characters to tell the story to me. In that way, my writing the novel isn’t that much different than the way a reader experiences it when he or she reads it.
For me, “the unknown” is the scary-thrilling rush that comes as I write. It’s kind of like being on a rollercoaster while wearing a blindfold.
For example, I’m working on a sequel to Screwing Up Time—I’m about a quarter of the way into the story, and I ran into a conundrum. Kate, Brian, and Granddad are all in different places. Eventually, they need to get to Mark and Miranda who are in trouble and need all the help they can get.
I knew how Granddad would get there. But I had no idea how Kate would get there or what her role would be in the action. Then, the answer came to me. Kate would act according to her personality, and she’s not one to sit back and wait for things to happen.
I’d love to tell you what Kate’s decided to do, but I don’t want to spoil any of the book. So you’ll just have to wait because I want you to experience the rush of discovering the story just like I do (although without all the nastiness of editing and proofreading—the real downside of being an author).