Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How Pansting Nearly Ruined My Writing Career (And Why I'll Never Go Back)

I used to be a die-hard panster. My first published novel came about after I had an encounter with a charismatic clerk in a dollar store. The three that followed had similar sketchy starts. I’d read a news story or overhear a conversation, and I’d plunge in without even the skimpiest of plans.

The blind trust I had in the process was astounding. I was like Christopher Columbus searching for the New World without a single navigational tool. I proudly declared myself to be an organic writer.  Looking back, it’s hard to figure out how I managed it.
My first three novels were part of series so, after the first one, characters and setting were already in place.  That made things easier. My fourth novel was a departure.  All I had in my head was a half-baked pitch, “Bridget Jones Meets Lovely Bones,” and I was off. I cringe when I think of how many times I had to re-write that thing.
How It All Went Sour

My fifth novel changed everything.  As usual, all I had was a concept in my head. I wrote the novel, sent it off to my agent and after she read it, she said, “Ewww.”
Well, not “ewww” exactly. She was more diplomatic but I knew what she meant. She gave me dozens of notes, and I spent months re-writing. I sent it off again. My agent said it was better but she wasn’t exactly popping champagne bottles and pricing Mercedes. She sent it off to two editors to see what they thought, and they both said it needed a lot of work. (One said it would be like trying to cut through acres of bramble with a pair of pinking shears.)
The editor did have some suggestions as to how to fix it. I took her advice and spent six months re-writing it. I sent it back to the agent and she said the four words no author ever wants to hear: “You made it worse.”
I re-wrote and re-wrote. I got more feedback and re-wrote some more. This process went on for three years.  I could sense my agent’s impatience with me so we parted ways. I did another re-write and queried. On the strength of my pitch, a superstar agent called me, itching to read the novel. The next morning I got an email from her. It praised my voice and the premise, but said, “You need to work on your storytelling skills.”
Talk about your botched opportunities. I was a national bestselling author of five critically praised novels, and yet it seemed as if I still didn’t know what I was doing.
Time for a Change
I knew there had to be a better way. That’s when I decided to do some serious study on novel structure. A colleague suggested I read screenwriting books. I was initially resistant.  What could I possibly learn from writers who specialize in car crashes, super heroes, and tired sequels? A whole lot, as it turns out.  Screenwriters do not mess around; they have always worshipped at the structure shrine and borrow heavily from Joseph Campbell and Aristotle.
With my spanking-new knowledge, I wrote another novel and five agents wanted to represent it. It will be published in September 2015. Now, before I write a single word of a novel, I use the techniques I learned to make sure the premise is solid. I end up abandoning oodles of ideas, but that’s a lot less painful than trashing an entire novel.
Speaking of novels, remember the one I couldn’t fix? A few weeks ago I read it for the first time in years, hoping maybe it was salvageable.  Wrong.   It was still dog food. In fact, it was so structurally flawed it should have never been written. If I had conceived of it six months ago instead of six years ago, I would have known that.
I learned my lesson the hard way; no more blind pantsing for me ever again. All in all, it cost me over five years of writing life. I can’t spare that kind of time.
P.S. Whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, every writer can benefit from reading screenwriting books to sharpen their storytelling skills.  Below are a list of my favorites; I also recommend Larry Brook’s story structure  series
I’ve also written a 25-page article on how to plot a novel using screen-writing techniques. Email me and I’ll send it to you. Karin.gillespie (at) gmail.com

McKee, Robert. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principals of Screenwriting. New
York.  Harper Collins. 1997. Print.
Snyder, Blake. Save the Cat!  Studio City: Michael Wiese Productions. 2005. Print.
Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. New York:
Faber &Faber. 2007. Print. (This is my all-time favorite among the screenwriting books!)
Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. Studio City: Michael
Wiese Productions. 2007. Print.
Karin Gillespie regularly blogsfacebooks, and tweets

47 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Karin. I'm a plotter and an outliner for reasons similar to yours. Robert McKee's book, Story changed my writing life. I will check out John Truby's book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post. I really need to pick up McKee again and work through it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Writing career with effective guides have been well made out here and these will generally help the students to try every possible guides for which they have been looking for.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is really tought to complete a writing and when there has something or someone who is trying to ruin my hard work which really made me angry. visit the website to know more how to get quality writing services.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great your writing skills for wright a such nice article. And I really prefer to all to join your service for the best info. Good job.Keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulation for your great success in writing profession and i hope you try to continue your job in the future. I know professional PhD thesis writing is so more necessary for us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good work…unique site and interesting too… keep it up…looking forward for more updates.Good luck to all of you and thanks so much for your hard-work.
    asi legal bangalore, asi legal,asi legal cochin,Shahul hameed

    ReplyDelete
  8. the more you shall honor Me,
    the more I shall bless you
    -the Infant Jesus of Prague

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is the post of way of how-panting-nearly-ruined-my- writing. This is very important post. This is an informative post. Thanks for the post https://www.capstonepaper.net/best-senior-capstone-paper-writing-help/ You can find more info here

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well its great accomplishment but heart-breaking journey as well specially when people don't recognize and don't guide you for affordable case study help, it effects all ultimately.Keep writing dear !

    ReplyDelete
  11. Young Angels Book Publishing House is Organises Book fairs in Schools and Book clubs in PTM.Young Angels publisher is also equipped with Kids' Educational Monthly Magazine and have been delivering Kids' Literacy Resources in India Since 2005

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts,
    lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.
    SmsGrand
    Smsgrand
    Smsgrand
    Smsgrand
    Smsgrand

    ReplyDelete
  13. Bài viết rất hay: Chúng tôi chuyên cung cấp các sản phẩm chất lượng sau:



    Lều xông hơi gia đình giá rẻ



    Lều xông hơi giá bao nhiêu



    Lều xông hơi loại nào tốt nhất hiện nay



    Cảm ơn các bạn!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Bài viết rất hay: Chúng tôi chuyên cung cấp các sản phẩm chất lượng sau:



    Tác dụng thần kì của bồn ngâm chân



    Máy ngâm chân thải độc



    Chậu ngâm chân giá rẻ



    Cảm ơn các bạn!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Take AutoZone Customer Satisfaction Survey To tell the company about “what you think about your recent experience at AutoZone”.

    For sharing your valuable feedback and time with the company, they will able you to grab exciting offers. The information you provide will be used to improve the AutoZone experience.AutoZone Customer Satisfaction Survey

    ReplyDelete
  16. Twitch TV channel activation on Roku
    If you are new to the Roku streaming platform, select the best device among Roku Express, Express Plus, Premiere, and Premiere plus. Complete the setup and then navigate to the store. Add the channel to find the activation code. This code must be provided on the page, Twitch.tv/activate. Sign with the Twitch TV channel account, if required. If you are expecting any help to complete Twitch TV channel activation, talk to our network +1-855-718-4111 and visit our site twitch.tv/activate

    ReplyDelete
  17. How to Activate the USTV on Roku?
    USTV offers a brilliant collection of TV shows and movies directly to your home via your Roku streaming devices. If you wish to activate the USTV on Roku, you cannot directly download the app from the Roku Channels Store. Instead, you can follow the subsequent steps to activate the USTV channel app as a private channel on your Roku. Head to the USTVNow.com/Roku portal from your Roku web browser and click on the Add Channel button. Once added, you can launch the app from the Roku Channels list and activate it by entering the code on the portal again.If you want more information about USTV on Roku please visit our siteUSTVNow.com/Roku and Contact our helpline for further questions +1-805-436-1200?

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  19. How to Activate TCM on Roku?.
    Select your Roku device and complete the setup, if it’s brand new. Now sign in to the Roku account and check if your device is linked to the roku account.
    If yes, visit the appropriate channel store. Search typing the channel name. As soon as you receive the channel search results,
    provide the code navigating to the page, tcm.com/activate. For help and support to execute TCM channel activation,
    contact our team of network support team by dialing our number +1-855-626-1730 and
    visit our site www.tcm.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  20. How to Activate VH1 Application?
    First, you have to get the app from the channel store and go to the channel store by choosing the streaming channels option. Go to the Movies and TV section and get the app. Now, access the app and receive the code. After that, visit vh1.com/activate by opening a web browser. Then, opt for the pay TV provider and key in the channel link code to the text box. Finally, click Activate and initiate the process of activation If you want more information about vh1 channel activation please visit our site vh1.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  21. You can take the customer Survey to help them to make an improvement to their service and get $5 Off $25 Coupon.
    website

    ReplyDelete
  22. https://www.uttarakhandescort.com/
    Uttarakhand Escort Service | Uttarakhand Call Girls
    Get Escort Service in Uttarakhand at low price by Miss Kajal 000000000. Our escorts agency offers luxurious and beautiful Uttarakhand female model escorts
    Uttarakhand call girls, call girls in Uttarakhand, young girls, call girl Uttarakhand, escorts in Dehradun, escort service in dehradun, dehradun call girls, dehradun escort, escort in dehradun, dehradun escort service, hariyana escorts service, dehradun independent Escorts , dehradun escorts, escort service in dehradun, dehradun escorts agency.



    ReplyDelete
  23. https://pinkcityescort.com/
    We Offer the Mainly Demanding Independent Jaipur Escorts Services to High Profile - Jaipur Escorts Service 9990765904 Call Girls in Jaipur
    Hello welcome to my site, I am a Jaipur Escorts City, a High Class Jaipur Escorts meticulous date. Whether or not you require some person to run with you on any industrial enterprise treks, ends of the week away, dinner, theater, quiet night in, or no of  hours amusing and go to, I can be that one in every of a type individual, basically call me your concise sweetheart. And each considered one of my photos is of ME and 101 % assessment, no progressions. I’m 20 Years antique; degree 11 blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. I’m a  36-24-36 with wonderfully sensitive clean, tanned and molded pores and pores and skin. And I keep myself fit and can be determined in my network practice focus continuously. Also I am spotlessly ideal and take impossible idea to make certain I stay thusly, as I discover this primary even as assembly my date.
    you are feeling tired by means of way of your paintings load then you certainly have the choice to come back lower back to the Escorts in Jaipur. And Superb diploma is it definitely is one the various foremost mentioned spots for buying a charge out of pleasuring administrations. Pink city Jaipur Call Girls are continuously famous on the equal time as you are purchasing a decent cute and beautiful escort woman then Jaipur is that the tremendous vicinity anyplace you can see call Samar ladies. Or if you are a go to Jaipur or remaining in Jaipur, you just must advantage escort advantage whilst you desire to beautify your lifestyles. The escort advantage workplace or impartial escort have their profile online, in this manner you simply have to be confined to searching for and get with the right escort benefit employer. Pink City Escort are committed to furnishing you with the nice guide and moreover they regularly try to inform their client’s goals. Can clearly get baffled once you utilize VIP Escorts in Jaipur benefits similar to the best to provide you most excessive pride
    jaipur call girls,call girls in jaipur,young girls in jaipur,call girls in jaipur,escorts in jaipur,call girls in jaipur,jaipur call girl, jaipur escort service, escort in jaipur, jaipur escort service, jaipur escorts service, jaipur independent Escort, escort service provider in jaipur, escort service provider in jaipur
    Pink City Call Girls,Pink City Escort Service,Pink City Escort Service,Jaipur Escort Service,Jaipur Escort,Jodhpur Escort,Pink City Escort,Escort Service Jaipur,Call Girl In Jaipur,Jaipur Call Girl,Escort Services in Jaipur,Jaipur Call Girl,Escort in Jaipur,
    https://twitter.com/pinkcitycom
    https://www.instagram.com/serviceproduct04/
    https://www.facebook.com/people/Babu-Kumar/100055944257709

    ReplyDelete
  24. How to connect Roku to TV without HDMI?
    Roku devices can do wonders when it comes to streaming high quality TV entertainment. Occasionally, some might encounter certain kinds of issues with their Roku streaming devices occasionally. From TV playback to connectivity issues, it may vary from one Roku device to other based on various factors. IF you’re facing the , you can try the following. Connecting your Roku other than HDMI might be a little tricky but you can do it via HDMI converters. Try other HDMI port on your TV or try on other TV. You can also use Roku HDMI to DVI converter.
    If you have intrested to information about roku connecting with HDMI you can refer our site roku tv hdmi no signal and also call our expert team by dialing our number +1-805-980-1700

    ReplyDelete
  25. How to fix Roku low signal strength issues?
    Connect your Roku device to wifi network and visit the store to add your favorite channels. If the network connection is slow, here we explain the troubleshooting guide to overcome Roku low signal strength error. You can restart the device as the first step and then verify the network signal . If you require any problem in roku connecting with wifi do contact our team of network support executives by dialing our number +1-820-300-0450 and also you can visit our site roku express low signal strength

    ReplyDelete
  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What is the Roku Activation code?
    Roku activation code is one that is mandatory to activate the Roku device. To get the code, you need to complete the initial steps on the Roku device. Only after this, you can get the code on the Roku device. For the activation, you can surf to the Roku activation page and enter the code on the site to activate the device. After the device activation to launch the channels on the Roku device, you need to sign in the Roku account to the Roku If you want to activate roku through Roku activation code you may visit our site Roku.com/link

    ReplyDelete
  28. This was an amazing -write-up. The way you arranged the words is simply phenomenal. Arranging text logically reminds me of the exclusive Thesis Writing Help by the MyAssignmentHelpAU platform. The assignments prepared by their experts require the support of comprehensive research content, accurate details, and a clear focus on the fundamental concepts. The writing and editing professionals are available 24/7 to assist you with a diverse range of topics and assignment formats immediately.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Low-density polyethylene, which is better known as LDPE, is a thermoplastic produced from the monomer ethylene. It was the first grade of polyethylene to be made in the year 1933 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) through free radical polymerisation.


    Low Density Polyethylene Production Cost

    ReplyDelete
  30. Polypropylene, also known as PP or polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer that is often used in a wide variety of applications. It is prepared via chain-growth polymerisation from the monomer propylene.


    Polypropylene Production Cost

    ReplyDelete
  31. There is no universal rule of thumb to reference while trying to determine when to replace your flooring. This depends on the type of flooring you need to be replaced, the quality of the materials which were used, the quality of the installation process, how you treated the flooring, and so on.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Marshalls survey is used to make the customer happier. And the survey will also be used for the development of the company in all aspects.

    ReplyDelete
  33. That's a really good article you wrote. I found this very informative. People who work in jobs such as transcriptionists, journalists, writers, receptionists, data entry clerks, and secretaries to CEOs need a fast typing speed and high accuracy rate. For more information, visit the online Typing Test profile. This will measure your typing speed in words per minute (WPM). This is a calculation of how fast you type words without making mistakes. Also, find out if you need to improve your typing speed and accuracy.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is an excellent article that you wrote. I found the information provided here to be very useful. Visit the Online Typing Speed Test profile to get assistance with your typing skills and speed. With this tool, you can measure your typing speed in words per minute (WPM). Typing speed is calculated by dividing the number of typos per word by the number of letters in the word. Make sure you check the speed and accuracy of your typing to see if you need to improve.

    ReplyDelete
  35. The title of this blog post is something I've never heard of from blogs I've read. It's good to read your blog posts about the checklist for blogger containers. This is a real post I share with you where you can read Best Online Clicker Games. Please refer to the article clicker games online.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Eliminate any tapes or materials for bundling consequently. Open the section plate and open the tapes on paper width and longitudinal markers. 123.com.setup Stretch out the piece of paper to the most extreme limit. Take the new plain white paper pack and burden it into the info tray. Drag the markers with the goal that the sheets are tight, however not very close. Whenever you're done, close the paper tray. To try not to print wrong records, adjust ink cartridges. Setup on the scanner is finished. Take the defensive plate on the glass of the scanner. Clean the glass and keep up with the forward looking setup plate. Ensure that the archive is set on the essences of the scanner glass as indicated by the setup markings. Pick OK and delay until the printer is in setup.

    ReplyDelete
  37. It is good to share information with others. I am impressed with your description on this site. Everything has changed since the epidemic. . I am sharing with you an article that will help you solve many problems related to webcams like lockdown browser webcam not detected.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Great information, i was searching of this kind of information, thankyou very much for sharing with us. i also have some links to share
    Get up To 90% Off buy diazepam 10mg online
    Get up To 90% Off ativan 1mg online order
    Get up To 90% Off buy xanax 1mg online
    Get up To 90% Off buy ativan 2mg online
    Get up To 90% Off buy tapentadol 100mg online
    Get up To 90% Off Buy tramadol 100mg online


    Get up To 90% Off Buy Clonazepam 2mg online
    Get up To 90% Off webhealthmart

    ReplyDelete
  39. I found this is an informative blog and also very useful and knowledgeable
    Get up To 90% Off buy modalert online
    Get up To 90% Off buy artvigil online
    Get up To 90% Off buy vilafinil 200mg online
    Get up To 90% Off buy waklert online
    Get up To 90% Off buymodapills

    ReplyDelete

  40. Ace Group presented its new extravagance private property project Ace Divino
    in Sector-1 Greater Noida West or Noida Extension that makes certain to grab your eye. It offering 2BHK , 3BHK pads and lofts with best value list, Payment Plan, floor plan, Layout plan, Location guide and a-list current conveniences.

    ReplyDelete
  41. You have a lot of interesting content on your blog. No doubt I'm having fun here, and it looks like there are others! Good job, keep it up. For more information about Spacebar Shortcut key, please refer to the article Spacebar Shortcut Mac. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

    ReplyDelete