Are you a plotter or a panster? Do you plot your stories ahead of writing? Or do you write and see what happens? (Writing “by the seat of your pants”.) Why do you work that way? What are the benefits ...and drawbacks?
I'm a pantser all the way. Plotting does not work for me because my stories are "character-driven." In other words, if my characters don't talk, I don't write.
I love being a pantser because every story is like one being told to me. I'm always anxious to keep typing to see where my hero or heroine is leading me, but the downside is silence. No talking, no typing, and that's where I'm at right now. I've had other lead characters become mute, but this one is killing me. I've not been able to work on my WIP for over a month because Hattie just clammed up. I'm stuck on chapter six and I have no idea how to get the story moving again. I can only hope that Hattie decides to work with me again. This is a first and it's very frustrating.
My motivation for finishing this story is Novel Text where I posted the first few chapters and I received an "editors pick" trophy. The contest only lasts so many months, and if I want to have a chance, I need to get moving.
Brief story explanation: Hattie grew up in the St. Louis orphanage and is now the oldest "child" there. She works part-time at the local mercantile and notices an ad for someone to travel by wagon train with a family in need of childcare assistance. Hattie only sees the adventure and excitement and arranges an interview. She secures the job, and along with a young man also hired to ride along to manage the livestock and lend extra security, is on her way to Independence with the family to meet up with the wagon train and head to California. Here's a sample:
Billy flashed a grin as he galloped by. Her cheeks heated. She should have ducked out of sight instead of appearing to be a nosy Nellie. No denying she was one, she clenched her teeth and inched closer to the bonnet’s front opening.
“Whoa,” Mr. Franklin’s slanting tug on the reins and bellow at the team stopped the turning wheels and sent her sprawling. She barely missed hitting her head on the wagon bench.
“Just a couple of drunks letting off some steam,” Billy reported. “They’ve veered off the trail, headed for a ranch up north where they plan to join a cattle drive.”
Hattie took a deep breath, pulled herself up and smoothed her skirt. Billy was so brave to face two men…especially ones toting weapons. What if they’d killed him?
One of the twins whimpered. Concerned with her childcare duties, Hattie shook the notion from her head and went to fetch the child. The little ones had slept much longer than she’d expected. Hattie tapped Abby on the shoulder. “Edwin’s awake.”
Abby straddled one foot over the wagon seat, stepped into the bed and then dragged her other leg over. She tugged at her noticeably damp bodice. “I figured it must be feeding time.” Her smile wasn’t genuine.
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