When I started my Letty Valdez Mysteries series with Desert Jade, I was more of a pantser. I had a general idea of what was going to happen and when. I started with the crime. That is also true of Dragon’s Revenge. I started with the idea that my dragon was going to be the victim of a crime, primarily because of racism in late 19th century Arizona Territory. And I knew that my dragon would get his revenge in the end.
My latest Letty mystery, Daemon Waters, is different. I started as usual with a crime in mind. Then specific scenes started to appear, but not in any kind of order. The pantser approach just wasn’t going to work. I ended up putting the scenes on little slips of paper, then ordering the slips in the order that chapters would appear. The slips of paper method made it possible to reorder the chapters more easily. Then I wrote an expanded outline of the book with extensive comments about what would go in each chapter. Much to my surprise, the crime I thought I was writing about transformed itself into something new and more complicated.
The other issue with this book has nothing to do with pantsers and plotters. I am dealing with a character who is trying to take over and make the book about….well, I better not say. The character is that fellow who appeared at the end of Dragon’s Revenge – the one that Teddy the black lab found in a tree.
So it’s late February. I don’t expect Daemon Waters to be finished and ready to publish until the summer. Writing takes a while.
How about you? Are you a writer? (of anything, not just genre fiction). What’s your style of writing? Are you a visual artist? Do you plan your artwork in advance (plotter) or just go for it and start throwing paint on canvas? (pantser). Feel free to comment.