Welcome author Katie O'Boyle with a writing tip about Plotting vs. Pantsing. Be sure to scroll down to enter our giveaway, and read all about Katie's books.
Pantser or Plotter? You Decide!
When I began writing romance novels a few years ago, I embraced the idea of “character-driven fiction” and let the characters completely drive the plot. My characters treated me, a novice, to a dozen or so detours and dead ends, along with some melodramatic scenes that, mercifully, found their way to the cutting room floor. After many rewrites, I was thrilled with book one of the Lakeside Porches novels, Stepping Up To Love. I was also very sure that Pantser was not a comfortable or effective way for me, personally, to write a novel.
For the book two, Coming Home To Love, instead of being a die-hard Pantser, I focused on the important scenes of the story. Many of those scenes took place in the kitchen and involved a delicious dish or menu to be shared by the hero and heroine, both of whom ate strictly gluten-free. The method was a mix of Pantser and Plotter, and I gave the characters free rein within a loosely-delineated plot. It worked fairly well for me, better than the book-one experience.
For the book four, I plotted within an inch of my life, but I also listened to my characters as I wrote. Plotting allowed me to write when I had snatches of time, in between my three (really!) jobs. I’m very happy with the result, Finding the Way Back To Love. Just released, it is the longest of the Lakeside Porches novels and the most complex. By the way, I retired from all three jobs after I finished writing that book.
When I began book four, Waking Up To Love, I had a different set of objectives. I knew my hero and heroine would be spinning off a new mystery series of their own, so I needed to explore their abilities as sleuths. And I needed a villain in the story. I carefully plotted the book, but the plan went haywire. The sleuths did not appreciate being told what to do, and the villain whined that no one appreciated him, even while he was playing havoc with peoples’ lives. I stopped when the book was about two-thirds done and went back to the beginning. This time, I stopped listening to the villain entirely but listened especially hard to the heroine, who was caught between the hero and the villain. Success! Stay tuned!
Now I am working on the first of the cozy, campus mysteries, The Root of Murder, starring the hero and heroine of book four. Writing a mystery, I’m finding, requires a very different writing process. I have to know the complete backstory of the murder, the victim, and the perpetrator. And my characters have to begin with a thread of evidence and ask a series of questions to arrive at what I already know. So I have two detailed timelines: one leading up to the murder and one leading the sleuths to the explanation of the dastardly deed and resulting in the apprehension of its doer. I am having way more fun with this technique!
I wonder if my method will continue to change as I take on new challenged? At this point, I only know for sure that some serious plotting is important to me as I work on a book, and that it’s essential to me to listen to my characters and adjust my plan accordingly as the story unfolds.
Lakeside Porches Series
Finding The Way Back To Love-Book 3
Gwen Forrester, Ph.D., 32, gifted psychotherapist and beautiful widow, is stuck in a rut, dating hotties on the fast track. What she really wants is a life partner who’ll help her raise a family and make a difference in her home town, Tompkins Falls.
New in town, Officer Peter Shaughnessy, 30, has recovered from the gunshot wound he suffered in a drug bust in the city of Syracuse, but he’s still smarting from his ex-wife’s betrayal and, before that, the years of abuse from his alcoholic father.
It feels like fate to Gwen when her very-pregnant niece Haley trips the security system at Gwen’s lakeside home and Officer Shaughnessy takes the call.
By joining forces to help Haley, Peter and Gwen discover they’re a good team. Long, exhilarating canoe trips convince them they’re on the same page with their life goals. Then a destructive squall lands them on the rocks, and a night of stormy passion reveals painful truths that drive them apart. Are they willing to go to any length to find their way back to love?
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Katie's giving away a copy of her new release, Finding the Way Back to Love!
Author Bio: Katie O’Boyle
Born in the upstate-New York village known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, Katie O’Boyle passionately loves the Finger Lakes in every season. She cherishes the lakeside porch as a place for intimate sharing, laughter and inspiration. Some years ago, Katie was a stellar student and closet substance abuser at a picture-perfect small college. She credits loving friends, 12-step spirituality, and plenty of hard work for her transformation into her grown-up self: tech-savvy college professor and passionate author of warm-hearted romance. She skillfully weaves those essential experiences and knowledge throughout the Lakeside Porches romances.
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