Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Friday, 24 February 2012


There are two ways to write a book. I thought I was a Pantser. Had a vague notion and ran with it, trusting it would get me some where good. Final Girl took me two years to write. There was a fair amount of stopping and starting and the usual diversions along the way, sure. But still... two years is a long time. I now have a 78,000 word manuscript and a 27,250 word file full of off-cuts, all of the bits and pieces that didn’t make the book. What a waste. You could say it was all a learning exercise in exploring the characters and such like, and yet, I don’t think I’m going to be a Pantser anymore. There has to be a middle ground between trusting to fate and the four winds, and mapping out every scene down to the colour of the curtains. 

The time limit I’ve set for my next story is six weeks, maximum, for a decent first draft. I have a plan, a rough sketch of each scene, just a sentence or two, and what’s at stake. It doesn’t feel like I’m caging myself in, so far. I haven’t lost interest in the story because I know roughly where it’s going. So far so good, in Week One I got 15,000 words down. I know I can do better, but it’s a solid start. Part of it is prioritising, but part of it is down to the fact that when I sit down to write I know what needs doing.

Your writing improves the more you write. It’s a fact. No amount of workshops or how to books replaces putting words on the page. I’ve leant a lot in the last two years, the bulk of which I attribute to working with my mentor, Louise Cusack, published in fantasy and erotica. It’s amazing what a kind and constructive guiding hand can do.  And my writing group, I’d be lost without them. Crit Partners are essential.

So, those are my random thoughts for the day. Plotting or Pantsing, there’s no hard and fast rule. All I know is, somewhere in-between is working mighty fine so far.

Have a great weekend!


  1. I'd be satisfied if I could manage more than the first couple of paragraphs/the prologue. I always start strong, but fizzle out before getting anywhere.

    1. I feel your pain, Jay. I have a file called Half A**ed Ideas with well over 50 story attempts ranging from one page to one hundred and fifty. Another reason why I gave up pantsing. You have to have an idea of where you want to take it, but you also have to push past the point of fizzle and commit to getting the thing finished.

      You have a friend that is more than happy to back and forwards about plot ideas with you should you be so inclined.