Hijacked

                I fall between a plotter and a panster. A plotter outlines the entire novel.  They rarely stray from the plan.  A panster has an idea, maybe some characters, and they start writing, by the seat of their pants so to speak, without really knowing how it is all going to turn out. They only know that they have this idea, or the beginnings of an idea, and must write it NOW.

                I’ve tried plotting and have been told this is the way it should be done.  But, after I have written a detailed outline, the story no longer holds appeal.  At least not the appeal it once had because I now know exactly how it is going to play out.   To me it is like picking up a murder mystery and reading the last chapter to find out who did it, and why, before ever starting the book.  The journey into the mystery is no longer exciting and what is the point of trying to guess as you read.  You already know.          

                I am far closer to a panster.  However, I usually have an idea of the beginning, middle and the end.  I usually summarize the story in a page and a half, just to get my ideas down, and start writing.  Even if I’m writing chapter three, my mind is already busy on what is going to happen in chapters five, six and seven.  Often the novel is played out in my mind, to the end, while I drive or work in the garden.  I am convinced I know exactly what is going to take place and when.  Even though it isn’t in an official written outline, it is detailed in my mind.

                However, nine times out of ten, those ideas are hijacked.  Here is how it usually happens.  I hit say chapter five and one of my characters does something I didn’t anticipate.  Wait, this is my story, how did that happen?  But, there it is, on the computer screen.  My hero has taken over.  And, of course my heroine must react to this.  He took an unmarked path and she follows.  “Come back here,” I scream at them. Okay, not literally, but if I don’t get a handle on the situation, who knows where they will take the story.

                Neither of them responds and I soon type helplessly as my secondary characters turn down the same path.  Not one of them has remained loyal to the author – me!  So, what is to be done? I could stand in the middle of the paved and prepared road, with my plan, and wait.  But experience has taught me that this does not work (my characters never return) and the only companion I am likely to meet on this now deserted road is my enemy, Writer’s Block.   As I don’t wish to face the enemy alone, I have no choice but to follow my characters unchartered winding path and my story turns out nothing like it was ever intended. 

                Such is my life as a writer, always being hijacked.