Friday, February 4, 2011

What Happens When Two Pansters Collaborate on a Book?

As many of you know, I write across three genres – YA contemporary, Sci-fi, and Dystopian.  The YA contemporary and Sci-fi manuscripts are all mine, but when it comes to writing Dystopian, I rely on the equally dark mind of my amazing writing partner, Lindsay.  Problem is, we are both pansters.  Either one of us could tell you where our manuscript starts and where it will end, but as for the stuff in the middle, we have no clue until we actually write it.

So how does that work – two non-plotters collaborating on a book?  Surprisingly, with great ease.  It's when we start drawing out our chapter maps that mayhem ensues!

Sunday night we skyped for about an hour, had the entire next chapter planned out and ready to be written.  It was the first time in some 40,000 words that we actually had a solid plan, and I felt pretty good.   You know what happened – nothing.  We stewed and wrote, and revised, and deleted, and rewrote for the better part of two days trying to figure that darn chapter out.  Why was it so hard?  Because we planned it out.  Both of us felt confined to the parameters we had set for the chapter, boxed in with a set beginning and end with no room for creative freedom. Once we threw the plan out, agreed to write whatever came regardless of where it led us, the words flew out and the entire chapter came into shape.

So no more plotting for us, or at least me.  We are going to stick to the plan that works  . . . which incidentally is no plan at all!


  1. Whatever did we used to do before Skype? Those telephone things with cords and clunky buttons, I guess. ;)

    It's probably best that you're both pantsers. If she was a plotter and you a pantser, you might've run into problems. That's great you both know what works as a team! Have fun. :)

  2. I actually laughed out loud reliving that mess of a chapter. Good thing we've learned our lesson:) No more plotting!

  3. That's too funny! You gotta do what works. :)

  4. LOL! And I've been stuck because I was trying to panster it, and I am more of a plotter (loose plotter).

    Can't wait to see what you two did!

  5. I'm with you I find when I try to plan I block my own methods. I break the mold. Sometimes it's not meant to be followed, go with your gut, write your heart out. Sometimes two pansters can be just as effective as two outliners.

    I just learned that you and Lindsay worked together!! I adore her!! Which means, naturally I'll adore you!!!

  6. That's hilarious. Being a fellow pantster, I can only imagine how it must have played out! Glad you both found what works and can't wait to hear how it all ends up.

  7. Lol, I feel your pain! I definitely do much better when I let things fly.

  8. I am collabing on several projects as well, and only one of them is about strict planning. The others are based on the organic approach - just let it grow and mature as it wishes. And that works for me. I may be tapping into your mind for some notes about collaborating. Look for an email soon!

    Happy to be your newest follower.