Right now I’m about ready to go looking, because it may have chewed a hole through the fence and gone a’wandering. And worst of all, it’s taken the other one with it. I wonder if I put up flyers, looking for the return of one space opera, novel-sized plot, and one urban fantasy, novella-sized, if anyone would respond with the big guy and his little sidekick? No?
What do you mean, it’s because they’re invisible and exist in my own head? You think I’d lose my mind like that?
Wait. Don’t answer that…
What’s happened is that I finally was able to fit writing daily into my routine again. And of course, with the new discipline I intended to work on the novel-in-progress, which at 40K words in the manuscript seemed like, you know, it would already have a plot. Which it does. I think. Somewhere. As I was bemoaning my confounded frustrations in the writing channel, a friend offered to take a look for me. Sometimes another set of eyes will catch what you are missing. It would be nice if he’d find the plot (metaphorically) hiding under the bed while I’d been running around the neighborhood thinking I need to scrap it all and re-write from the beginning.
And since the friend is a busy man, I turned to another work, rather than sit on my hands waiting for my baby to come home again. I plunged in, working at 500-1000 words a day, and yesterday I looked at my content and thought… dangit!
Being a pantser is a pain in the toochis. I can feel in the seat of my pants, if I’m riding, which way the horse is going to go, usually (ears are another good clue). The problem with this metaphor as applied to writing is similar to riding, actually. You know where they are going, until they aren’t. With a horse, this is usually a shy, when they spook and lose their adorable walnut brain at a stray leaf or stick that looks nothing like a snake. They go one way, with no warning whatsoever, orthogonal to the way they were signaling an instant before, and the laws of conservation of momentum dictate the rider go in another. There’s nothing like that feeling when you find yourself in midair, then the ground smacks you in the face.
With writing, these sudden changes can sometimes be great for your plotting. That twist the reader doesn’t see coming. That plot kink the writer had to frantically ret-con into the earlier part of the book, so there’s enough foreshadowing it doesn’t throw the reader violently out of the book. More often, it’s like looking up and realizing you’re lost. You weren’t paying attention, and you shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque, and now you’ve lost the plot entirely.
Fortunately, in real life you can get up, dust the leaves and mud off yourself (puddles are also lethal, a horse will assure you. Could be quicksand. Can’t step in that!) and then remount. In writing, you can scroll back to the beginning, and read through, making notes (if you’re smart, unlike me, who tends to lose them if she did scribble them somewhere) of what the plot was to begin with. Once you start to see the shape take form, then you’ll have a much better idea of how to find the dang thing. You can’t find your invisible friend if you don’t know what he looks like.
If you’ll pardon me, I’m off with my metaphorical butterfly net. A novella plot should fit in that, right? I mean, novellas never turn into novels overnight…