I’m about 90% pantser, I guess. I start a novel with a premise, usually summarizable in a single sentence (perhaps a single sentence with an ‘and’ in the middle). Most of the time I know what the resolution at the end of the book will be or will probably be. I write my opening few paragraphs, perhaps pause to flesh out that first scene in my mind, and then start writing. And as I go along, new details form in my mind about how the plot develops and what the characters’ backstories are and stuff like that. I try to plot a scene or two ahead of where I am in the writing just so that whenever I sit down at the computer I know roughly what the next few pages will be, but I never go much farther than that.

Occasionally as I’m writing I’m struck by an epiphany that clarifies some problem I was having with the plot, or expands on someone’s backstory and explains why they’re doing something some way. I’m used to these, and they usually make things better when I get them.

Today, I got an epiphany about Pawn to D-8. I was writing to a critique partner and mentioning some advice I’d received last year on my second novel, which had a boy-must-save-world type plot; the reader said the stakes weren’t high enough and the boy’s motivation to get involved was weak – I needed to make it personal. This is probably the best general writing advice I’ve gotten to date, and at some point I’ll have to do a full post about it. But today’s post is about epiphanies. As I was writing that out to my critique partner, I kept thinking that I really needed to do that with the conflict in my current WIP, and how would I go about making it personal? And then I was struck by an epiphany that made total sense and really raised the stakes of the story.

The problem? It means completely reworking the relationship of two of the characters.

Which means going back to the beginning and rewriting most of what I’ve done so far.

Pawn to D-8 status: 16,543 0 words

Sigh. But I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth it.


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