Authors love to chat about whether they’re a plotter or pantser. It’s an enlightening topic that pulls back the curtain to see how novels make the journey from idea to bookshelf.
Do you start your book by plotting out the scenes? Once you have a solid outline from opening image, through the various acts and on to the final scene, then you start writing based on this rough outline. Or are you a pantser? Start writing and see how the book unfolds? These are two common ways to go about taking an idea and turning it into a bestseller. It’s interesting to hear authors’ preferences and styles. Some authors flip flop a little, but most have a preferred approach.
I’ve heard best-sellers also talk about the “vomit and mop” method. Sorry about triggering any gag-reflexes, but this is a good one. You just start writing it all out and then go back and mop it up, setting into scenes, chapters, and filling in the gaps.
While I’ve written books using all these approaches, I’ve found one that really works for me.
Maybe it’s more plotter meets pantser, still, I like to call it quilting. I’ve never made a quilt, I don’t sew, but I imagine this is what quilting is like—at least the book writing version. Here’s how it works.
I start out with a rough outline—my plot. Then I randomly write scenes as they transpire. In other words, I may wake up with a vision or dialogue running through my mind and then I write that scene. It may fall at the end of a book, or in the middle, but it’s a scene. No matter what I’m doing—exercising, resting, reading, all my daily activities usually inspire some scene and dialogue, so I capture it as soon as I can.
This results in little patches, or squares of my quilt, which I slowly sew together. Some will stay, some will go, some will be vastly redesigned, but in time the quilt comes together and viola, I’ve got my book.
Any other “quilters” out there?