Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Where'd all that paint come from and why am I in this corner?

As Jeffe mentioned on Sunday, painting oneself into a corner is a plague on pantsers, those of us who write without outlines and sometimes even with no plan at all, just yee-haw it all out there. Writing's an adventure, right? No risk, no reward.

Until you're too far in to go back but look down and realize you can't go forward either. Because you've messed this thing up so bad. 

Painted yourself into a corner. 

I'm not saying that I do this all the time, but I do this all the time. Worse, I don't have any good advice for preventing it. For me, most times, it'll present as a note from a beta reader -- or worse, an editor -- something like, "This doesn't make sense. Did you even read the first book in this series?"

Of course I didn't read it. I wrote it.

But upon being informed of whatever plot sin I'd engaged in, my job as a storyteller is to go back and make it work. If making changes in an unpublished book can tidy everything up, that's best, but if the violation is in a book that's already out on the market, I have to change what I can. 

Sometimes, sad to say, this means I've had to give up some plot twists and reveals that I really, really loved. But I did it, and it's done, and no regrets, right?

Maybe the best advice is this: complete an entire series before you publish the first one. 

No really. And stop laughing.