POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE
By Nandy Ekle
I have a cast of characters. I have a situation. I have a setting. I drop my characters with their situations into their setting and say, “Okay, go.” They begin to act and speak to each other and to me and the story appears.
I am a pantser, one who writes “by the seat of my pants.” Some of my best tales are those where I put my hands on the keyboard, or pick up a pen and paper, and just start to write. I usually have an opening sentence in mind, or at least an opening situation, and a vague idea of an ending. I try not to be too attached to an ending because I know that anything can happen.
And what usually does happen is magic. The zone comes down and blots out the rest of the world and I focus one hundred percent on the character. I see her face, her home, her clothes. I hear her voice and the way she speaks her words. I see through her eyes and feel everything she feels and hears. A lot of times I am as thrilled and surprised by the story as I hope my readers are.
The advantages to this are limitless. This brings an intimacy between me and my characters and I trust them when they want to go in a different direction from my plans. Also the story is more genuine than if I planned every single detail (intricate planning feels very clinical to me). My favorite aspect of “pantsing it” is the spontaneous fun and adventure I have when I write.
I had the story planned just the way it should have gone. I knew the theme of my story and I had the events in place to bring the characters to the ending I had planned. Everything was going like clockwork. As I type I watch the characters act and speak as I knew they would. Then, suddenly, one of them—the one I thought was neutral—turns to look at me with a glint in his eye. That’s when the true ending springs to life in my head. My skin prickles with goosebumps and my eyes tear up. I cry and giggle at the same time all day long.
That is why I write as a pantser.
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