Writing Without Fear


My latest WIP has been a bit of a challenge. I’m a panster, not an outliner which can be both freeing and completely stifling.

I usually start with an idea for a character, or characters, and then build a story and plot around them. I know, it’s backwards, but it’s the way my brain works.

I’ve started my current WIP three different times.

First, the plot wasn’t strong enough, so I set it aside. But the characters kept talking to me, and telling me they had a story to tell.

So I picked it up again. I tried changing the plot and making it more appealing, and it seemed to be working for a while. But it was still missing something and I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I set it down again.

The third time I picked it up I realized that the story was focused around the wrong character. I was trying to make a supporting character the protagonist. One of the side characters had a much better story to tell and made a much better protagonist: the kind you want to root for even when you know they’re going to fail miserably.

So I started over…again.

I also decided to write with a different approach. No editing. No rereading. Just keep writing. I know that means there will be a LOT more editing at the end, but it’s been kind of fun writing without fear.

I’m also writing completely prepared to cut out scenes, even chapters if necessary. Many times, as writers (or at least it’s this way with me), we’re reluctant to take out scenes, especially the ones that we really love. We don’t want to let go of them. But this time I KNOW there is going to be changes, and I’m good with that. Sometimes as I’m writing a particular scene, I may have an idea that it may not make it to the final cut. I’ve even found myself thinking “that doesn’t fit there” or “that chapter really sucked.” But I just keep writing.

This WIP has turned into a sort of writing exercise in free writing. Who knows if it will work? I’m not sure what I’m going to gain from it, but I’m not afraid even if the whole thing needs to be scrapped. As long as I finish it, then I will have reached my first goal.

Writing without fear may turn into editing without fear.

What do you do when a WIP isn’t working? Do you scrap it or do you try to re-work it? Are you a panster or an outliner?


7 thoughts on “Writing Without Fear

  1. I am an outliner all the way!
    That being said, I’ve gone “off outline” before when an idea strikes me. I do a lot of crazy free writing when I’m writing the outline. Then I move scenes around. Then I write the draft.
    I’m interested in your newest only because I to have one that has undergone MASSIVE changes (and turned out better!) so that process of starting over appeals to me!
    If you need a beta or an editor when you’re done-hit me up! 😉
    Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the offer. I’ll keep you in mind…if and when I finish. I tried outlining and found it way too constrictive for me, which is odd because I tend to be more of an organizer. Weird, huh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m an outliner. I’ve tried pantsing – I just can’t do it. It’s not who I am. Based on our conversation on my writing post the other day, it doesn’t shock me that I’m an outliner and you’re a pantser. 🙂

    As for what I do when a WIP just isn’t working out, I try at least to learn what I can from it. I’ll stick it in a drawer (figuratively, of course), and maybe come back to it one day, but maybe not. If I’m honest, I’m scared to look back at past WIPs, because I’m hesitant to read what crap I wrote. Then again, I remind myself that seeing and acknowledging my mistakes is what will make me a stronger writer.

    Liked by 1 person

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