Pantsing through the Pandemic

Seaside Statue Sitting Man
Courtesy of eltpics

Today, I had the pleasure of being a guest over at The Kill Zone. These guys are first-rate authors. Take a look at my post and decide whether I measure up.

If, as Stephen King likes to say, the road to hell is paved with adverbs, then finishing a novel is paved with mouse traps; and here you are trying to get across that minefield in your bare feet. As writers, we tend to get distracted—a lot. Thanks, Netflix. And then, there’s life. How many of you have said, “If only I could focus exclusively on my writing, I’d finish this damn book, by cracky.” I know I have. Repeatedly over the years, much to the irritation of my long-suffering wife.

Then, a little thing called COVID-19 happened. We were told we had to shelter in place. Sure, there was still Netflix and Amazon Prime to distract us, but we couldn’t go anywhere. What’s a writer to do? Well, like the wily poker player whose bluff was called, I decided to shut up and write. And guess what, I finished the damn book.

Pantsers Are People, Too

I’m a pantser by trade. That means I don’t have a clue where I’m heading when I begin a new book. That’s not entirely true. I do know where I would like to end up, but I haven’t worked out the details. I have a main character in mind, of course. And I’m pretty clear on the conflict arising between the mc’s goal and the thing standing in the way. Other than that, I’m free as a bird when it comes to the plot. I suspect that some plotters look at pantsers as undisciplined children with uncombed hair and sticky fingers. My image of a plotter is a person who dresses impeccably and has an English accent. Borrowing from the wonderfully insane film Galaxy Quest, plotters are Alexander Dane, while pantsers are Jason Nesmith.

The book in question is the third in my supernatural suspense series, Sarah Greene Mysteries. My main character sees ghosts, which tends to get her into serious trouble. Over the course of the three novels, Sarah goes from discovering a mirror that holds the spirit of a dead girl to the entire town pretty much erupting into flames. Now, as a card-carrying pantser, I had no idea how I was going to go from a murder mystery to Armageddon. I had to trust that the characters would get me to my destination. Spoiler alert—going about crafting a novel this way requires you to rewrite. Often. That’s the downside. The upside is, there are lots of opportunities for discovery. And then, there is what I like to call the happy accident, which in my opinion, is a gift from heaven and makes for a better story.

You can read the rest of the post here.

April 2020 Highlights and We’re All in This Together

Spring Squirrel
Courtesy of Joachim Dobler

Well, we’re carrying on in the Ramirez household. We have food, water, and enough toilet paper to make it through the next couple of weeks—and no one is sick. I sincerely hope you and your families are safe and that you have enough to eat. These are the strangest times I’ve ever lived through. I can’t wait for the world to get back to normal, whatever that means.

Steven with BeretLike many men out there, I’ve pretty much given up shaving. This is me now. What do you think? I’ve been told now that I’ve embraced the natural look, I need to invest in beard oil. Yikes. What happened to the good ol’ days of washing with Lifebuoy soap? Next, they’ll be telling me I have to wear cable knit sweaters.

One good thing came out of this, though. I finally purchased the French Basque hat I’ve always wanted. Yeah, I know. But come on, we’re in a pandemic, for crying out loud.

Writing

I’m making headway in Book 3 of my Sarah Greene Mysteries series. I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the year, God willing. When it’s published, I’ll create a box set.

Sheltering at home means many of you are reading a lot more. For those of you who are Kindle Unlimited subscribers, you can now read The Girl in the Mirror and House of the Shrieking Woman for free.

 

Recommended Reading

One For Sorrow Cover

If you enjoy psychological thrillers that leave you breathless, then One For Sorrow by Sarah A. Denzil may be the ticket. You can read my review here.

Recommended Viewing

For those of you with an Amazon Prime account, check out Fortitude, a dark mystery thriller set in the Arctic Circle. For me, this series is perfect for these pandemic times.

Once again, stay safe. See you next month, when I plan to spin up a face mask-making business. Keep your eyes open for a GoFundMe. Peace and love.