I was musing on my current WIP, and noticed a pattern. I shift between plotter and pantser, and there’s some correlation between those and the type of project I’m working on. If I’m doing a write-by-numbers book, like most of my regencies, I tend to plot more. The story arrives in my head already in some kind of order. I make an outline, and write straight through. Not all at once, of course; I haven’t yet reached the point that I can write a novel without stopping to sleep, and I’m not sure I want to. But the scenes show up one after another, in reasonable order, and minimal structural editing is needed.
But most of my books aren’t like that. Some of them… well, ‘labor of love’ is a decent descriptor. These are the books I write as escapism for me. Not just for the reader. The Garia Cycle, the Mercenary Series, my current WIP- all are extraordinarily fun to write (Usually. I still refer to the WIP as What the Fic, because of its propensity to make abrupt and frustrating 90-degree turns at random intervals. It’s also the series that has around 300k words of discarded material. Yes, you read that right) and make it onto the page in a rather different fashion from the write-by-numbers books.
Scenes from ‘labor of love’ books show up out of order. They also tend to start out as thought exercises and metastasize into series. So I’ll be working on a scene in book one, and abruptly shift to book four or five, which might take place in an entirely different time, place, and point in the characters’ relationships. And by ‘abruptly,’ I mean, anywhere from ‘overnight’ to ‘fifteen minutes while I was eating lunch.’
This isn’t surprising- I’m writing these books mostly for me, and since I need to escape from different things at different times, it only makes sense that my escape will look a bit chaotic. But it is interesting. And, unfortunately, not very productive. When one enjoys writing a book, there’s little to no incentive to actually finish it. None of the aforementioned series are anywhere near completion.
So I have to find ways of integrating the two strategies; I’d like to get some of these books out eventually. And I’m not quite crazy enough to force myself to hate a book that I love, just so I can feel some relief when I finally finish it.
I’m in a bit of a pickle. But I’m enjoying it. So that’s something. Maybe I’ll get a few books out of it. Eventually.