Today I welcome author Kevin Klehr onto my blog, discussing the topic of being a Plotting Pantser.
Big thanks to Kevin for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out his links and details at the end of this post.
Many years ago, I read a review of my first novel
The reader got tired of my story at some stage and put the book down. But within a short time, she picked it up again because she missed the characters. They were like friends to her.
While this was complimentary it also posed a problem. I had to fix in my work as my plotting was off.
The sequel to this book would be told from four different first-person points of view. So, the story had to keep moving forward even though not one of these characters knew the whole tale. You see, some lived on earth while others resided in the Afterlife.
So, I became serious about plotting
Each chapter’s cliff hanger had to catapult us to the next character even if they had no idea that the former character who narrated the last scene, existed.
From then on, every story I wrote was carefully plotted for pace, even if I played with the pace within the story.
And while the main points were listed with bullet points for each chapter, my imagination could run wild with the rest of the scene as long as I adhered to the list of bullet points. What had to happen, had to happen.
Until my last three works.
My hybrid phase kicked in
In one, two characters decided they didn’t want to be co-stars. One I allowed. She wanted to be one of the main character’s girlfriends, even though I plotted her lover to be a free spirit and hopeless playboy.
The other minor player who wanted more time would have altered the ending if he stayed. As I always know my endings in advance, I would not hear of it.
I wrote him into a plotted scene and let him stay for an extra one, then rewrote, scrapping him from further existence.
This hybrid plotter/pantser writing style has become my method.
But there’s been a drawback
I have two works in progress that are shorter than I wanted them to be. For one, I was going to find some backstory I could bring to the forefront just to make it novel-length. But during my last edit, I decided I shouldn’t change it.
It’s more action-paced than anything I’ve written so to add more scenes would disturb its flow. Plus, I didn’t want another reader putting a book I’d penned, down.
Oddly, I meandered from my plot plan for that story. While editing I would pick up inconsistencies in the tale that are often not an issue if I stuck to my solid plotted blueprint.
But this novella turned out to be full of heart and whimsy, even if relationships changed from my initial blueprint. It’s more pantsered than plotted, and it works.
The other WIP is my obsession
Its pacing is good but it’s too short. I’ve added scenes that work as an engaging side story before returning to the main plot, but there’s danger in doing this.
For some readers, this could be a pointless detour. The story is still too short. I intend to get it right, but I know I’ll need advice.
At the time of writing, an even newer WIP has had its blueprint redrafted a few times. I wanted to get back to my old style of plotting by getting the initial plan right. This is also important because it’s a nostalgic tale set in the nineties.
Within the scenes, I have the characters doing nineties things. Lacquering a pine CD rack. Listening to messages on their answering machines. Getting a piercing instead of a tattoo.
All have been weaved into my blueprint, so they’re added to the story. Each scene has an extra subheading in my plan titled ‘90s features’.
With perseverance comes experience
It took time to get me to understand how to plot. Then I trusted my instincts and took risks. Now I either plot or plot/pantser depending on what the story needs.
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Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.
His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the start of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author. The third in this series scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.
So, with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life, and friendship to his readers/
Social Media Central
In an age where everyone lives their lives through a screen, no one has more celebrity status than fashion blogger, Madeline Q.
In a chance meeting, Taylor, loner, and geek is introduced to her world of parties, fan worship, and seduction.
But as his own star rises, Madeline Q is arrested for murder. There’s just one problem – there is no corpse. Taylor soon learns that fiction blurs reality on Social Media Central.
This post was written by a guest writer. Please check out their details above. If you would like to be a guest contributor on this blog, check out my Interested in Guest Posting page for details on how you can share your advice or do an author interview.