The Life Stages of a Pantsers Manuscript

A friend of mine is faced with having to write her first full-length novel for a few years. It’s not going to be a problem for her – well, she thinks it will be, but her words are so epic that I know it’ll be fantastic once it’s done, even if she hits some rocks along the road. But it got me to thinking about the life stages of our books. I know we are all different, but for your amusement, here’s mine.

0 Words – Stark Beginnings

In the beginning – there was… actually, I don’t know what there was. The beginning of a book is not when you or I put pen to paper, it’s when that first little seed enters the brain. Who knows how it begins? I couldn’t tell you. I do know, that for me, it began with an image while listening to a song, but something must’ve triggered it before that? Maybe…

noidea

 

500 Words…of notes

So now I have the main characters name and a little background. But not much more. But I do know her hair color. Hell yeah!

2000 Words…still notes

Whoop whoop! – I now have names of LIs, Protagonist, and friends and a tiny bit of their background.

whoop-whoop-o
—— Words…I’ve lost count

My notepad doesn’t have a word counter, but it’s full up and I have everyone. Still…I have no plot.

200 Words…of my manuscript

So it begins. Kind of. Or is this complete crap. Should I delete it and start again? What’s going on. Anyone know?

hmm

 

1000 Words in.

I have main character, I have setting, I have action. I have…crap – which character should I introduce next. I should really know this by now.

0 Words in.

That was rubbish. Start again.

2500 words in.

I did it!!! I wrote a chapter. OMG – It’s fabulous. I can totally do this.

ican

10000 words in.

Still rocking it!

rockingit

12000 Words in.

That’s just….that’s just awful. I don’t even know what that is.

what

15000 words in.

I Wonder what everyone’s up to on Twitter.

think

25000 Words in.

And….I’m baaaack. I am the QUEEN of this place. Ooo, yeah. Look what I just wrote. How freakin awesome is that. Honestly…my own genius scares me.

queen

 

 

30000 Words in.

I am a total failure.

paper

 

40000 Words in.

Beginning – check. Middle – check. Ugh – what’s that chapter all about. CUT.

50000 Words in.

There’s a pigeon in that tree. And a squirrel in that one. Ooo – a dragonfly. *Runs off to have a look.

dfly

50005 Words in.

That dragonfly sure was pretty. I wonder what other colors they come in. Google has the answers….

60000 Words in.

I actually just don’t care anymore.

65000 Words in.

Oh yes, now I’m rocking it like the God that I am.

freddie

65002 Words in.

Wait…what? That’s crap!!! *Jams finger on delete key.

what1

30000 Words in.

I can’t believe I just deleted 35k words. *Sobs while jamming cake into mouth.

cry

30000 Words in and several weeks later.

*Peeks out from under pillow fort. Area seems safe. Snatches notepad from beneath junk food rubbish while swigging cola.

30000 Words in.

I guess I turned into a plotter somewhere along the way….

40000 Words in.

Yes. This is much better.

50000 Words in.

Is it really better? Is this too much? Are there too many twists? Consults critique partner.

scratch

60000 Words in.

OMG – I did NOT see that coming. Thank you character who shall not be named for guiding me toward the light.

70000 Words in.

*Stares at screen. Sniffles. Is it really over?

75000 Words in.

Of course not. Layer – you idiot.

80000 Words in. Several months later.

Draft one million and sixty finished.

77000 Words in and several weeks later.

CP’s have ripped it to pieces and I’ve put it back together again. Off to the editor it goes.

OMG – I’m finished. Now I can do all those things I wanted to when I was writing.

happy

A half hour later.

*Fires up laptop… Chapter One….

typing

And there you have it. My writing process. I would love to know yours!

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21 thoughts on “The Life Stages of a Pantsers Manuscript

  1. When you write it all out like that… IT’S HILARIOUS! Of course when we’re hip deep, it is NOT HILARIOUS! My process is fairly similar. I fill notebooks with character sketches, maps, drawings of towns and houses (or other worlds), and scene ideas. I make a calendar of when I think certain events will take place… so I don’t lose track of a sense of time. So I do have a small clue as to what might happen, but it usually changes as I go (hence never ever doing an outline AGAIN!) I get to know all my characters! Live with them. This all takes forever. Then I write it from beginning to end. There are moments of happiness, tears, insanity… I didn’t have Twitter the last time I wrote a novel, but I’m sure it will call to me every fifteen minutes or so! LOL! After the first draft is done, I let it sit. Then go back to revise. No one ever reads my first drafts. I have a feeling that might change this time around.
    AH! A NEW NOVEL… AND I AM SO SCARED TO DO THIS AGAIN.
    I’m glad to know you have my back! Just as I have yours! *high five* Great post. So funny.

    • LOL!! I couldn’t agree more with not outlining. I’ve tried and as you said – it just doesn’t happen. I go off on one and before you know it – the outline is scrapped. I totally have your back and I know you have mine. ❤ ❤ And I KNOW Doors 2 is going to be EPIC!!!

  2. Oh, god, after reading that, I’m not sure I even want to start back on #4! SCR.
    Really brilliant self-insight and disclosure. LOL’d as I recognized the ups, the downs and the blahs of it all.
    Guffawed twice. Really.

  3. Yep, this is me. And at 15K for book 2, I looked at this stage on your post and said. Argh..it’s been 4 months now since I’ve written a word of that MS :S And regarding 60K words in 🙂 That’s me. If my characters didn’t show me how this book would progress, I’m not sure who would :S Great post!

    • It’s crazy how many words we write that never make the final cut. The book I’m working on – I could’ve written two by now!! It’s so easy to go off down the wrong track and much harder to find your way back. And….I think I’ve done it again :/ I must admit with my first book I walked away for a few month. Every time I thought about writing some of it an intense fear crushed me. I hate that stage, it’s the worst, but I guess we just have to write one paragraph and hopefully we’ll be on our way again 🙂

  4. This was so fun to read! I love your gifs, lol ^_^ Hmm, my writing process begins as a movie in my head. I know, sounds weird right? But that’s how my ideas form, and then I jot them all down and work on a detailed outline, so I can stay on track as I actually get to writing the story 🙂

    • No – it doesn’t sound weird at all. My first book began as a scene played out in my head – so I guess that’s like the same. It works! Thank you for commenting 🙂

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