When I sat down in 2000 to write my first novel, I listened to the character's voice in my head, eager to hear what she had to say. Cecile Palmer came to me, already named, with a book title in mind, and a story to tell. I simply provided the fingers to do the typing. I loved the process and still do to this day. Transcribing her every movement and thought made me feel as though I'd become a child again, having my mother read me a bedtime story. But...when Cecile stopped talking, I stopped writing and hungered for more. Each day brought me to the keyboard, filled with excitement to discover new territory, meet her new husband, and learn how she would fare once she married and moved to the prairie. Boy was I surprised.
I love being a pantser, and it's a good thing because plotting never works for me. Over the years, I've had a myriad of voices in my head, and the one who screams loudest is the one to get my attention. There have been many times I have more than work-in-progress because my stars are so insistent. The only problem I've come across: when the character is done, so is the book, and if they decide to turn mute in the process, that's when I get what's called "writer's block."
The silence is often welcome or a hint that I need to find a more sedate place to reconnect with my character(s). If one doesn't want to talk to me, I usually have others who will. Being a pantser is a unique style that I share with many other authors, but plotters and pantsers usually aren't interchangeable. You're either one or the other, and we don't see eye-to-eye on how to write.
While plotters outline their stories, name their characters and struggle with titles, I've been fortunate to have leading stars who come to me with all that information already in mind. I've gone with their choices, and I've been lucky to have a collection of full-length novels, novellas and short stories available. Right now, I have three WIPS. One started with a quiet character who only speaks when she's in the mood. A second starring a young woman who hasn't yet decided what's going to happen in her time-travel to modern day, and a sequel to a relationship book I've already written. Thanks to my blogging buddy's praise and yearning to read more, Cassie Fremont has returned with a new story to relate. I'm excited and I was up at five because Cassie wanted to introduce me to her cast and let me know her title. She showed up at the best possible time.
Oh...just so you know...here's how the then Cecile Palmer began her story in Silver City on my first day of writing in the year 2000: