chasing the right monsters

I don’t want to waste time writing down the wrong path, but here’s what happened to me the other day…

I’m in the last quarter of my WIP, with lots and lots of subplots going. That’s fine, it’s a first draft when all possibilities must fly. But I hate the feeling you get when you have to carve out ten chapters and put them in the Dead File. I measure all those misbegotten words in terms of Time I Could Have Used Revising.

So I spent the day tippity-tapping up a storm, chasing a monster of my own making. Unfortunately, at the end of the day I decided the monster did not belong in this story.


After a few minutes of lamentation,

I picked myself back up and turned to another plot thread I’d been working on for weeks. And then a curious thing happened.

My WIP careened somewhere that SHOCKED ME.

I literally had to stop and recover.

How did this happen?


First, while I was chasing the monster with my characters, I got to know them much, much better. That never hurts.

Then, when I went back to the other thread, a sufficient amount of percolation space and time had passed to allow A Breakthrough.

That. Is why I love pantsing. *

Yeah, not like that.

* Writing, flying by the seat of your pants, rather than outlining beforehand.


About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on February 15, 2012, in writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Two thumbs up for percolation and breakthroughs! 😀

  2. Cool. Pantsing does have its merits. 🙂

  3. I don’t know how I missed this post when its notification first landed in my inbox. I’d enjoy reading your words–and reflecting on them as re: my own writing–even without the animations, but with them? I try to make it a point to check out your posts immediately!

    — a fellow pantser

  4. Dana, Pantsing: the only way to fly.

    Deborah, gifs are my life. If only I could figure out how to make them.

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