Friday, March 15, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER ROSEANNA M. WHITE: Writing by Intuition (and Giveaway!!)

Writing by Intuition

by Roseanna M. White

Ready to talk math?! What? No, I’m on the right blog. I promise. And I shall prove to you in a few quick steps that you, you writer out there, are in fact a mathematician. Ready? (Strap your seatbelt on if you feel the need. But I promise, this road won’t be too bumpy, LOL.)
Blaise Pascal by Augustin Pajou

I’m going to start us off with an intro to a truly awesome man named Blaise Pascal. No doubt you’ve heard of him. He was the “Heart has its reason that reason knows nothing of” dude. He was a brilliant man, expounding on math, physics, philosophy, and faith. I love his Pensees (translation: Thoughts), especially the ones dealing with faith. But it’s also worth reading his thoughts on subjects like math. In one of these writings a bit too long for me to quote here, Pascal delves into two different kinds of minds—the mathematical mind and the intuitive mind. Here’s the skinny: the mathematical mind goes from step to step to step, making reasonable, logic leaps in a progressive fashion. The intuitive mind, on the other hand, sees the answer clearly without knowing the steps taken to get there.

Is the application to writing starting to come through? Probably, right?

We all know that there are Pantsers and Plotters. And quite a few levels between. And we also all know there are methods galore on structuring your story, plotting your story, winging your story, building your characters, tormenting your characters (that’s totally a legitimate way of putting it, right?), and every other part of constructing a book. But I’m positing here that those methods are for the mathematical mind.

So what about the intuitive?

First, let’s determine if you might just be an intuitive writer. Here’s a little quiz to help you figure it out.

  1. What’s your favorite book on craft?
a. Bell’s Plot and Structure
b. Lamott’s Bird by Bird
c. Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel
d. Craft book? Hmm, I have twenty of them, but I can never get all the way through one...
  1. Where do each of your Three Acts begin?
a. Chapters Four, Twelve, and Eighteen
b. Chapters Three, Ten, and Nineteen
c. Chapters Five, Fifteen, and Twenty-Five
d. My what now? You do know I’m writing a novel, right, and not a play?
  1. What’s the lie your character is telling herself?
a. That she is nothing special
b. That she cannot succeed without help
c. That if she tells the truth, he’ll kill her
d. Lie—wait, I know this one. It’s...um...well, she...Stephanie! What’s the lie my character is telling herself??

Detecting the theme yet? ;-) If you’re an intuitive writer, you tend to see the story and, whether or not you plot or pants it while writing, have a hard time putting labels on the elements. Oh, you can usually identify climax, maybe those Acts, some of the big stuff. But all the little labels that spring up? Those might give you headaches.

I’m here to tell you that that’s OKAY.

For years, I sat in classes at conference and read blog articles and thought, “Yes, of course, this is how we writers write. This is how we take it up a level or five. This is how we make sure our stories are solid and strong.” Then I’d take my notes, my newly-purchased book and workbook, I’d sit down in front of my WIP...and I’d go blank.

It was frustrating, because I knew my stories had these things. I knew my plots were balanced, that my characters were well developed. And when I emailed my critique partner for her opinion on these aspects in my book, she could give me the answer in about ten seconds. Did Stephanie know my story better than me? No. Does she have a better grasp on writing? Sometimes I think so, LOL, but it’s not necessarily that. But what she does have is a mathematical mind.

(Stephanie is now laughing hysterically in front of her computer, I betcha. Calling me all kinds of crazy...) ;-)

But seriously. There are those who know how to organize and label and progress from step to step to step. And there are those of us who just don’t.

Now, Pascal himself advocates the perfectly balanced combination of these traits. To put it in terms of writing, it’s the person who can come up with a nearly complete idea and then go through and identify the important parts, tweaking where necessary to make sure each aspect is strong. Those craft books and seminars no doubt come in handy there, but it’s their instinct that helps them apply it wisely and creatively.

But most of us lean one way or the other. And there is advice aplenty for those who need the bullet points and diagrams. The other side is much quieter—and for good reason. How, exactly, does one teach a non-system?

Well, I don’t dare to say I can teach it, but I can give you a few pointers on how to strengthen your intuition and beef up that mathematical side too.

First of all, give yourself permission to not be a labeler. 
 
If you happen to have a great answer to the questions about lies and black moments and acts, great! Use them! Tack them to your wall and go with that. But if you don’t, don’t stress it, don’t fret over it, and don’t waste time that you could be writing trying to figure it out.

Next, learn to recognize the voice of your intuition.
 
If you’re going to go this route, then don’t slack at it. Does a sentence not sound right or feel right? Don’t be lazy. Fix it. Does one character bother you? Figure out why—and don’t be afraid to ask a critique partner for her opinion. Is a line of dialogue flat? Delete it, replace it. Does your ending feel weak? Rewrite it. Do you feel trapped in the character’s drawing room? Send them out on a mission. After manuscript revision after manuscript revision, I realized that I usually knew what was off long before my critters helped me label it. But I ignored it, and ended up with more work in the end. Once I learned to trust that voice, to know that voice, I eliminated a lot of correcting.

Know the Systems.

I’ve never studied the Snowflake or mapped out my Acts, I only made it through a few pages of the Breakout Novel Workbook. But I know the gist of them all, and keeping them in the back of my mind helps me to identify where my weaknesses are and some standard ways of strengthening them. I’ve even tried my hand at various methods of organizing. Index cards, color-coded charts, you name it. I never use one more than once, LOL, but trying them out has helped me in general. Not with labeling, but at least with organizing. ;-)

Don’t be afraid to twist the rules.

My heroine’s black moment in my latest WIP turns into a bright moment halfway through the scene. My climax is characterized by the hero choosing not to act. Her lie is, in fact, the truth—which is an issue she has to deal with. Don’t mix it up for the sake of mixing it up, but if your gut says your story needs to throw convention out the window, then somebody pull up the blinds!

Trust your instincts.

I wrote, oh, ten or so books before I joined ACFW and learned all the rules. And while I wish (oh, how I wish!) I’d known all these basics of POV and Show v. Tell from the get-go, I also appreciate the rules more because I can look back through my manuscripts and see how I evolved toward them on my own. The last book I wrote before learning about head-hopping didn’t, actually, head-hop. I occasionally shifted POVs when one character left a room without inserting a break, but the scenes themselves were within POV. Still, I needed the Rules to help me solidify those instincts, and to know which ones were right and which ones needed better hewn.

Don’t mistake pride for intuition.

My writing has always been and will always be more gut than structure. I do plot—but I don’t examine what part each scene plays. My plotting is more just taking notes on the story that has laid itself out in my mind. Still, I have to be careful not to confuse instinct with knowledge. Knowing how a story should go or a character should grow doesn’t mean I executed it right.

Which takes me back to math class. I drove my teachers nuts in middle and high school by not showing my work. I’d get the right answer, which I thought was all that mattered—but each and every one of them told me that wasn’t enough. Because then, when I was wrong, I had no idea where I’d gone wrong.

The same is true in writing fiction. Intuitive writers will often get it right—but when we don’t, how are supposed to fix it? That’s where we have to learn enough of the mathematical way to keep our instincts in shape. We have to be willing to grant our weaknesses and learn how to shore them up. We have to learn how to apply some of the structure so that we can be wise in what we ignore. ;-) And yes, it’s very, very helpful to have a critique partner who leans the other direction. That way she can help you label when labeling is required, and you can help her fill in the blanks when structure leaves a hole.

In the end, hopefully you’ll end up with a system that combines math and intuition...even if those craft books do gather dust on your shelf.

GIVEAWAY:
Leave a comment to be eligible to win Roseanna's latest exciting release, Ring of Secrets.

~*~

Roseanna M. White pens her novels under the Betsy Ross flag hanging above her desk, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When she isn’t writing fiction, she’s editing it for WhiteFire Publishing or reviewing it for the Christian Review of Books, both of which she co-founded with her husband. Her latest book, Ring of Secrets, takes the readers to Revolutionary New York and into the historical intrigue known as the Culper Ring. www.roseannawhite.com



 


84 comments:

Melissa Jagears said...

Good insight, I also think one can tear apart someone's other book "mathematically," but not quite be able to describe your own succinctly.

I'm a huge plotter and try to cover all the lies, and acts etc., but when it comes down to rough draft writing, for me, it's instinctive and I think that's why I hate the first draft with a passion because it is the most instinctive I get; I feel it's not "authentic" story unless I do go with my gut at that stage to get from point a to point b. And going with my gut feels like "losing control" and I hate not having control. Ha.

Connie Queen said...

Hello Roseanna!

First, I LOVE your cover. I'd pick it up for that reason alone.

This is sooo me.
"I realized that I usually knew what was off long before my critters helped me label it. But I ignored it, and ended up with more work in the end."

This article makes sense. Answer "d" was a favorite of mine.

Kara said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Roseanna, and thanks for such a great post! I get nervous talking about math, but I enjoyed and understood the terms/steps you listed here. I agree about having balance and enjoyed your advice on how to approach intuition versus logic. Please enter me for a copy of Ring of Secrets, it sounds like SUCH a great book! Blessings, Kara

Keli Gwyn said...

Great post, Roseanna.

To my surprise, since I'm a recovering perfectionist with OC leanings, I began writing as a pantser. I splashed words on the page joyfully, as surprised by what came next as my characters were.

These days I prefer to have a plan, having learned the hard way how much work I have ahead of me when I don't formulate one. I still allow myself the freedom to change things as I go, though. Having that flexibility enables me to have fun, while still working within a framework.

Marianne Barkman said...

i've got freshly baked cinnamon rolls on the table...waiting for Helen's coffee (or who ever is bringing it this morning). And while you are drooling over Roseanna's post and my rolls, i drool over your new novel, Roseanna. Please, please put my name in for that one. Thatnks, you're a dear, and welcome to Seekerville.

marianne

mitziUNDERSCOREwanhamATyahooDOTcom

Carol Moncado said...

Yes. This!

LOVE THIS!

I'm intuitive [I think]. I know I don't plot and organize and all that jazz.

/breaks out Benadryl for the hives coming on just talking about it/

BUT Christina Rich did convince me to try OneNote for my SpeedBo MS and [when I remember to update it as I go] I love it.

Maybe this is why the Scrivners and other programs like that didn't work for me... I dunno...

Anyhoo...

No writing for me today [can you believe that?! NO WORDS!] but I did do lots of editing on several Genesis entries and trying to decide for sure what to enter. LOTS of editing. Final decisions first thing in the morning I'm not so groggy.

Roseanna - I LOVED Jewel of Persia, by the way! I need to reread it soon :).

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Unbelievable.

I so love this post. I am past loving this post and am all the way into marrying it if it was legal.

I usually have a 'yes, but' comment, but not on this one. The last few parts were absolutely right. I especially appreciate the idea of finding the opposite in a critique partner.

I think I'll go back and read this again... Oh, and I have Pensees about 8 inches to my right, next to The Summa Theologica by Aquinas. Yay!

karenk said...

a wonderful posting....thanks for sharing, roseanna :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cindy W. said...

I believe I need a lot of work. "D" was a favorite of mine as well. I have a tendency to plot things out in my mind but then when I sit down to the computer my characters take off running and well at the end it's similar to what I had in mind and in most cases probably better.

I asked a question yesterday (late) and I don't believe it was answered. Does anyone ever start their novel using Naked Dialogue and then go back and layer later on or is that a bad practice?

Would love to be entered to win your book Roseanna. I love the cover!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Debra E. Marvin said...

I do tend to get the heebie jeebies when someone talks about just winging and being surprised about where things end up but... Roseanna, you've managed to make it all rather soothing.

Because while we may come at it from different directions, the two styles have so much overlap when we are hearing our characters talk in our heads. Ultimately they are running the show.
Ever try to make your character act differently than they want to? ahah! here's common ground.

I want Ring of Secrets!
For anyone who doesn't know, please check out the SERIAL STORY Roseanna is currently involved in.-- a blog hop serial REGENCY that will just knock your socks off, and she is only one of the very talented authors involved!
It started this week on:http://cfpagels.blogspot.com/2013/03/marylu-tyndall-vow-fulfilled-chaper-one.html?showComment=1363040387344#c1299916207943316094



Roseanna White said...

This is the only blog I know where I can check in at 5:30 a.m. EST and already find 10 comments. ;-)

Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone! So glad I've hit a note with some of you. When Julie told me it was writing month on Seekerville when we were scheduling my guest post, I got a little panicked. I have thoughts on writing, but they never, ever work with a system, LOL. What in the world was I supposed to write to you guys about??

So, yeah, I went with that. ;-) I have IMMENSE respect for those who can label their writing mathematically, but I'm with Carol on breaking out in hives at the thought of applying them to stuff!

Thanks so much for all the excitement for Ring of Secrets, and do check out that serial Debra linked to! It turned out to be sooooo much fun!

Roseanna White said...

And Virginia, that made me grin! I read both in college, and as it happens, I just had my characters talking about Aquinas in the scene I wrote yesterday, LOL! Well, okay, she wasn't talking about the text, just about the information she was going to hide within the pages...still. It counts. ;-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars, this is wonderful stuff Roseanna!!! Thank you for being here...

And Cindy, I had to stop last night to work on edits, but I'll answer anything I didn't answer yesterday over the weekend... working today....

Crazy busy fun week in Seekerville!!!

I love pantsing... but I also have to work within certain parameters now because I deliver the synopsis first. That's comforting in many ways... I can't go off on tangents USUALLY. :)

But I do manage to still do that sometimes.

I'm leaving fresh coffee and Friday donuts. No baking time this week!!!

And St. Patrick's Day coming! GRINNING!!!!

Jackie said...

I'm so glad you stopped by today.

I'm still working on finding my best system. I feel lighter now that I've read your post. I think you've given a lot of us freedom not to be so hard on ourselves if we don't plot our stories out step by step.

Congrats on your new book. The cover is beautiful, and I've not seen many books set in New York during this time period. Please toss my name in the hat. Thanks.

Great post today.

Jackie L.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Roseanna! I'm impressed with your thought provoking post. You may lean toward intuition but you have a good grasp of both processes.

Love your cover!

Janet

Jeanne T said...

Okay, I confess, according to my answers of your questions, I am a complete mathematical mind. I write best when I know ahead of time who the characters are and plot out their stories. The thought of writing strictly by intuition scares me. :)

That said, I really enjoyed this post, Roseanna. It's so fun to hear how others write. As I read through it, I saw some ideas for incorporating intuition into my writing style. LIke Debra said, when the characters talk, I listen. And I am able to make the changes that must be made.

Thanks so much for sharing this today!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

This is me. Thanks for that. I have partially read craft books all over. I pick and choose but it comes down to writing.

I agree with Melissa. I can look at others' writing and know what those elements are but not identify them in my own manuscript.

I have been blessed with critters who have supported me. I have been blessed with fellow writers who share their own experiences.

Coincidentally, my hero is learning to listen to his intuition. Huh.

Peace, Julie

Amy C said...

What a great informative post.
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Roseanna and welcome to Seekerville. Yes, those early 5:00 am comments are actually night owls on the West Coast. Midnight is only 9:00 pm their time.

You are blowing me away though as I'm such a plotter but I'm horrible in math. Must be some other way it connects. lol

The post was really interesting. Thanks for sharing your insights. Have fun today.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Roseanna, this is one of my most favorite posts on writing ever! (Julie's on Reel Writing is at the top, too!) This is SO me!!! Thank you for giving me permission to let my books gather dust! Thank you for giving me permission to not use my index cards. Thank you for giving me permission to figure out the elements AFTER I've already written them! Thank you for giving me permission to fix things as I go because something doesn't feel right! And on and on... Somebody writes like me!!! You're a gem! And I want your book! :D

Roseanna White said...

It's so much easier to identify those points in others' work, isn't it? Totally different parts of the brain used when writing though, LOL.

Sandra, I always chuckle at that too--lots of people who have "mathematical" minds don't really like math, LOL. Perhaps we should think of it more as "logical." ;-)

Linnette, so glad this hit home for you! I know I struggled for years, feeling like I was a dunce for not being able to label like others did. Honestly, it wasn't until my editor said, "You have such a great grasp of story!" that I realized I wasn't doing it WRONG by doing it my way!

Golden Keyes Parsons said...

Good morning, wonderful editor of mine!! This made me laugh, especially the part about owning all of the books on writing ... each of them only partially read. I become so frustrated trying to read ABOUT writing. I just need to do it.

Your observations about instinctively knowing what seems right in the story rang so true with me. And the part about learning the rules has helped me strengthen areas that were/are weak.

Great post!!

Roseanna White said...

Good morning, Golden! Glad to make you laugh. ;-)

Yeah...at the time when I wrote this, I'd never actually read a craft book all the way through, LOL. I have since read ONE--and only because my critique partner wrote it, and I got to edit! LOL.

CatMom said...

Great post, Roseanna--thanks for being with us today! ~ And yep, I answered "D" on most of your questions (CAROL M., pass the Benadryl please, LOL).

I'll be adding this to my Keeper Files, because as someone else posted, it makes a lot of sense and also makes me feel better *whew*.

I have your book Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland and it's coming up in my TBR pile--Cannot wait to read it!

Thank you again for joining us today and sharing your wisdom. Please enjoy the Georgia Peach Cobbler I just baked (before I jump back into SpeedBo!).
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Roseanna White said...

Peach cobbler? Sign me up!! =) (Though I'm still full of donuts from earlier, LOL.)

Lexi Snow said...

Wow! This is literally exactly what I've been struggling with in my novel right now! I have no idea how to label anything! This post was so awesome, thank you!

Connie Almony said...

Roseanna, I think God is trying to tell me something this week. I too often fret over whether or not I have all these little things the structure books tell me I need, but then I just read in Stephen King's book on writing, that he thinks its all bunk. He says his writing is more like an uncovering of something that's already there, just hidden. My writing feels very much the same. I have always loved the basic premise of the Snowflake method in that it's a global-to-specific means of plodding through a story. I begin intuitively, but fill in the detail, I guess, mathematically. I do not write beginning to end. I write important, to less so. I love this way and can't imagine doing it any other.
Thank you for this post.

Tina Pinson said...

Roseanna,
Ahh a voice of sanity

Intuitive is so me. I even have those ten stories I wrote before I learned the rules as well and several partially read organize your writing thoughts book. Some with color coded markings. Not because I found something profound really, more because I got so bored I started doodling.

Like you I kept thinking if I only followed whatever technique, the graph of the moment, I'd turn out awe inspiring books. And like you I sat at my screen stumped. But when I follow my wee inner story teller I do much better.

Funny thing is I did pretty good in the math and tech areas, but when it comes to writing I choke if the formatting for getting my thought ordered gets too stringent.

I believe I even broke out in hives once after downloading a writing program, if not, I sure wanted to scream. Or had bald spots from pulling my hair out.

Thanks for reminding us that though there are many writers there are as many writing formulas as there are stories to write.

Blessings

Tina P.

Roseanna White said...

Kindred spirits, Tina. =) And that's a good point--I was always good at math! But as I guess as I already said, I was good at it intuitively, LOL, then had to be taught how to do the step-by-step.

Debby Giusti said...

Great blog, Roseanna! I'm a plotter, but I don't go overboard. No charts. No graphs. No spread sheets. Some how the books get written. :)

Love your pics and your energy! Are you related to our Ruthy?

It's sunny in Georgia! Birds are chirping outside my window. Flowers are blooming and spring is in the air, which also mean love, AKA romance. Time to get back to my WIP and more Speedbo pages.

So glad you could be with us today.

Julie Lessman said...

ROSEANNA, YOU ROCK!!!

Welcome back to Seekerville, my friend, and thanks for being such a great host today!

I agree with Linnette ... this is a very important writing subject and one that hasn't been touched on before, so BRAVO for you in coming up with such a unique and important topic.

Since it's the kick-off of St. Pat's weekend, I've brought a full Irish brunch with sunny-side-up eggs, Irish sausages, rashers, black & white puddings, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and cheddar chive Guinness bread, bangers and baby cakes PLUS Irish coffees such as Bailey's Irish Cream.

The top o' the mornin' to you!!

Hugs,
Julie

Mary Connealy said...

RATS! I should know all this stuff.

I don't really exactly OWN any writing books, but I checked one out of the library once. Does that count. (keep in mind it took me ten years to get my first book published, this is no doubt a big part of the reason why)

Roseanna White said...

Mary, you make me laugh. Did I mention that the one actual BOOK I own on the subject was a gift from the critique partner mentioned in the post? LOL. I did buy the Breakout Novel Workbook. Never did more than a page. Sigh.

Debby, I don't believe I am...I just married a man with a very popular last name, LOL.

Julie, thanks SO MUCH for having me! It's always a challenge to come up with a fresh topic on as awesome a writing blog as this one, LOL.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Roseanna!!! I answered "d" to all three of those questions! It's not that I can't see the steps and label all the stuff, I just don't like to. It's no fun and doesn't help me. About the only thing I like to label is the GMC for each character. That's about it. I don't label my Acts or even the Black Moment. I know it's in there, I just don't want to call it the black moment. Okay? :-)

Funny that you and Stephanie are so opposite! :-) Congrats on your gorgeous new novel! I've heard great things about it!

Michelle Fidler said...

I'm not a writer but I've seen some writing books for mystery writers that are interesting, like a guide to poisons or other things like that. They can also appeal to mystery readers.

The book cover looks good. I love historicals.

Clari Dees said...

The mathematical mind and the intuitive mind. I like that way of describing us writers. It makes both kinds sound really smart. :-)

And I can raise my hand and identify with this post, too. I arrive at the answers without being sure how I got there -- which made me hate math in school and actually work a lot of the problems backwards. I didn't care much for English, either. I wanted to read, not spend time breaking down parts of sentences. Who needs that stuff?!

My grandmother used to say, "Keep your words soft and sweet, for you may have to eat them some day." As it turns out, I do need that stuff and am glad I have it now. But I'd still much rather be writing than studying a writing craft book. :-) And it sounds so much better to say intuitive than lazy. Hee, hee.

Thanks for the encouragement today, Roseanna. Love the cover of your book. Saw it on Amazon the other day, thought it looked intriguing, and made a note to look at it again when I have time (and pennies) to make another book order. :-)

Oh, and my computer has been repaired and is in the hands of the Ups man. It should be back to me on Monday. I'm so excited to get it back. I have not accomplished nearly as much with pen and paper as I can with a keyboard. But I've still been working toward my slightly revised Speedbo goals.

Roseanna White said...

Writing with a computer, Clari--that takes sticktuitiveness! I'm impressed, LOL.

And yes, let's not call ourselves lazy. ;-) Intuitive is MUCH better!

Mary Connealy said...

MICHELLE FIDLER...Research books, now that's something else again. Different from How To Write books.

I don't claim to own as many research books as some people but I've got a nice stack.

Famous Guns in History
Men to Match My Mountains by Irving Stone
A book of trail maps through the Grand Canyon
The Man Who Walked Through Time (the first man to hike the length of the Grand Canyon)
Carlsbad Cavern by Jim White (the guy who discovered it)
A nice study Bible for finding topical references for my books themes.
Strong's Condordance
The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman
Oh, I've got a bunch of them.

Vince said...

Hi Roseanna:

I like everything you wrote here and I would add that it may be all a matter of one’s frame of reference.

Math and plotting are tools as a hammer is a tool. If you need to drive a nail, a hammer is pretty good. But if you need to saw a log, (or compose a sonata) a hammer is not very useful.

Intuition is also a tool. If you’re trying to compose a symphony, then you’ll need lots of intuition. However, if you don’t know all your tools, the musical instruments and their capabilities, then you are probably going to produce only noise.

I think the emphasis on intuition vs math depends on the writer’s personality. In no way will I spend a year writing a novel without knowing it has a great ending. That would be like going on a treasure hunt in the Amazon without knowing if there really is a treasure out there to find! Not for me. If I don’t have a great story, then I’ll admit it up front and I’ll work on another story.

Then there are writers who like to be entertained as they write. Writing for them is extended reading with all the fun of discovery. They will give up knowing if there really is a treasure out there because it makes the trip more enjoyable. I mean who knows what else they might find in their hit and miss wanderings? ( "If I know the treasure is out there and where it is, then I’m only a glorified deliver person. Yuk!".)

I don’t think it really is about plotting and pantsering. I think it’s about personality and where you place your emphasis.

St. Thomas was a math and a plotter. He had to have proof that there was a God out there at the end of the road. So he wrote five proofs for the existence of God.

Pascal said that’s silly. If you could prove God existed, like you can prove 1 + 1 = 2, then everyone would believe in God, there would be no place for belief in religion nor would there be any reward for believing. Imagine someone going around wanting a reward for believing that 1 + 1 = 2? Pascal’s intuition told him to bet on God’s existence because if you win, the heavenly payoff is infinite but if you lose, and God doesn’t exist, then you’re where you would have been if you hadn’t bet at all. You’re not going to know you lost and the atheist is not going to know he won.

So be thankful for all the tools craft books offer and then use them to your best advantage. And labels? Leave them up to the FDA. ☺

Vince

P.S. Please put me down for a chance to win your book. Entering is like Pascal’s wager. I can’t lose. I’ll either win or I’ll be in the same position I’m in right now. ☻

DebH said...

ahhhh...
so THAT explains things!
thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for your explanation!

now i don't feel so inept for having not read all those craft books (even though they are still waiting to be checked out from the library... sigh)

would love an opportunity to aquire Ring of Secrets. i love it when Seekerville introduces me to authors.

this is definitely a keeper post. now i just need to find a mathmatically (logic) minded crit partner...

Roseanna White said...

Vince, you gave me a good chuckle. =) And I do totally agree. It's a matter of our personality and how we work best, and learning to both trust ourselves and yet continually grow and stretch our toolbox.

DebH, you're welcome, you're welcome, you're welcome! ;-) I give you permissions to stop feeling bad for not gobbling up all those books. =) Though it *is* handy to have critters who know them, LOL! (And they can pass along the really stellar quotes. Love the quotes, just not digging for them.)

Jan Drexler said...

Okay, I'm one of those who breaks into hives at the thought of jumping into a book WITHOUT the plotting, identifying the acts, knowing how the moral premise develops, etc. etc. etc.

But I find that when I actually sit down to write the first draft, I don't refer to all those notes and work at all. That's when it becomes intuitive.

And then I go back to my pre-writing work as I revise and edit the first draft.

I'm so glad God made all of us different...there's no one right way to work.

Thanks for stopping by, Roseanna!

Myra Johnson said...

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

A KINDRED SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!

Roseanne, you understand me!!!!!!!!

I will never forget attending a workshop by Robin Lee Hatcher at the ACRW (yes, that long ago) conference in Houston. She described writing her proposals something like, "Well, there will be a couple of interesting characters, and some exiting things will happen to them, and . . . believe me, it'll be a really good story."

And I knew that was the level of publishing I needed to aspire to, because writing a synopsis BEFORE I write the book is next to impossible!

Myra Johnson said...

Excuse me, excuse me!!!

RoseannA!!!!!

Roseanna White said...

Another member for our club! Welcome, Myra!! =)

Tina Pinson said...

So, Mary, it took ten years to get published because you checked out a writing book and it threw you for a loop huh? That is so understandable.

;-)

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Nice to see you here, Roseanna! Well said!

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Roseanna (I used to love that song). Math was my favorite subject in school. I especially like statistics, and you really can prove anything with it, I used to work for the government.

Your post reminded me of a little magazine test I took some years ago to see if I was right brained or left brained. After I finished I told my hubby the test was inconclusive. "Does that mean I'm no brain?"
"Sure," he said, "you proved that when you married me."

Anyway, I'm middle-brained. I do outline and plot, but change things as I write.

Your book is the type I like to read. If I don't win, I'll probably buy it.

Roseanna White said...

LOL, Elaine. No brained indeed. I'm think I'm there with you. ;-) I grew up with a lefty mom but am right-handed, and the resulting cross-dominance had me (ahem) very well balanced. Or so I will swear till I'm blue in the face, LOL.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Oh, my!!! Please send me your home address immediately so I can send you all the craft books I have wasted my money on over the years.

It's like diet books.

You think there is a quick fix.

Dieting = eat right and exercise

Writing a novel-go with your gut.

Amen. BTW we have Vince locked in the storage room. He must not see this post.

Tina Radcliffe said...

hahahaha, Vince already saw it.

He handled it quite well.

Vince, you sly fella. You were just messing with me for not being a plotter.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Quick shout out for the MIA, Keli Gwyn and Kara.

Good to see your smiling faces again in Seekerville.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Roseanna this is the BEST way to do SPEEDBO.

Just write.

How is everyone doing on Speedbo today??

Tina Radcliffe said...

And we'll be taking a quick lunch break to go to Amazon and buy Roseanna's book,

Ring of Secret's post

and to eat at the Yankee Belle Cafe, today it's

Missy's Quick Tuscan Bean Salad

Roseanna White said...

I like that lunch break. ;-)

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, Tina, I wish everyone could see the bookshelf in my office. I have at least three shelves literally jammed with craft books! Yep, always looking for the quick fix. I stopped reading them years ago but can't seem to part with them, because . . .

You just never know.

The only craft book I've read in recent years that really, truly resonated with me is THE MORAL PREMISE.

Jamie Adams said...

Loved this post Roseanna! It's kinda like one of your books - I was hanging on every word. I'm smiling cause 'someone understands me' :)

Roseanna White said...

Aww, Jamie. Way to make my afternoon, LOL.

Donna said...

Roseanna, thank you so much for this post.

Yikes, the craft books I have! All because I still don't understand all of the acts, plot points and so on, and so forth..!!

This post could have saved me a lot of money over the past year. I have read it's ok to do things without all of the rules but I guess I needed someone to explain WHY I don't need them all. And why it's not WRONG if you don't use them.

Freedom!! Thanks!!

Vince said...

Hi Roseanna:

I just read on your website that you are a graduate of St. John’s. One of my life goals is to retire and go to St. John’s Graduate School in Liberal Arts at Santa Fe. I visited there some years ago because of their bookstore’s wide range of classics. I fell in love with the campus and program at once. I would have loved going to college there.

Well, I’ve already downloaded “A Stray Drop of Blood” at Amazon. I’ve read Roman history all my life. I can’t wait to read it. What a wonderful ‘discovery’ you were today!

I just love Seekerville!

Vince

P.S. Have you ever visited the Santa Fe campus?

Vince said...

Hi Tina:

Seriously, this post today has been a real eye-opener. I now believe that saying one is a pantser or plotter is like saying Derek Jeter is right handed. That’s important but it only says a little bit about how he plays the game and who he is. I think we may overvalue the importance of being either a pantser or plotter. I’ve always felt this intuitively but today I feel like I can see it clearly. I’m having a very good day today. Thanks for all you do to make Seekerville possible.

Vince

Roseanna White said...

Vince, St. John's was awesome! I'm so, so glad I went there. I too fell in love with the beautiful campus, and the amazing program. It's been a huge influence on my writing--good luck finding anything I've written that doesn't involve the classics in some way!

I never made it out to the Santa Fe campus though, no. =)

Roseanna White said...

Donna, glad I could help. =) We do have to know the rules, but there's certainly freedom in realizing we don't have to follow every system!

Cindy Regnier said...

Thank you Roseanna! I flunked your quiz but I'm working on it. I'm excited to read Ring of Secrets. Love the cover.

Roseanna White said...

LOL. I don't think it's a quiz that can really be flunked, so you're good. ;-)

Carol Moncado said...

Whew.

Genesis entries off my plate :).

Thank goodness!

[I started that two hours ago...]

And yes - I chose d for everything too.

But hey - Mellie told me my spiritual thread in one my entries was pretty obvious in my synop so I must be learning something :D.

Lyndee H said...

Thank you, Roseanna.

Hanging on by fingernails today.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Yay for your editor! :D

Sherida Stewart said...

Thank you for the concept of the intuitive writer, Roseanna. I like that! I'm somewhere in the mist between. Very interesting to think about!

Tina, I'm 85 words above where I should be at this point in Speedbo...definitely a good place.

And I echo Vince's comments...Thank you Seekerville!

Melissa, congrats on your announcement the other day!

Carol, you are a STAR! Good luck with the entries!

Playground Monitor said...

I am a plantzer. *grin*

I plan some, I plot some and I fly by the seat of my pants some. And I have a photo of Bradley Cooper over my monitor so I can see my hero staring at me and inspiring me to write his story.

I've done 1450 words today for a total of 11013 since March 1.

And that's it until Sunday or Monday. I'm keeping my grandgirls tomorrow and I know there will be no writing then. And tomorrow night I will be to tired to think. I love them to pieces but they are a big reminder of why God gives babies to younger people. LOL

I'm going to plot and plan some tonight during a phone call with a writer friend who just LOVES to brainstorm. So we're going to try to figure out how this thing ends. I have to get them to happily ever after!

Marilyn

Naomi Rawlings said...

Awesome post, Roseanna! I think this is why you and I plot so well together. I have these big broad sweeping goals that I want to have accomplished at some point in the novel, and I figure everything else will fall into place as I go.

My crit partner, on the other hand, drives me CRAZY when we try to plot together. She asks me all these questions about what's the character's goal and why does she want it and all that.

Of course, I always have a profound answer to that like, um, "My heroine wants to stay alive and fall in love." That's a pretty big deal considering I write romance novels and all. :-)

Anyway, thanks for actually making the intuitive side of writing seem sane and normal. Now if only publishers would start buying novels on proposals that say something like "The H/H meet and hate each other for a little while because they both want different things, but then they start to fall in love and figure out a way to make their different goals work together, but before they can actually admit their feelings and change of heart to each other, this really big thing happens that yanks them apart and tests their fortitude and love in ways they've never imagined, but they survive the test and come together at the end, and their relationship is even stronger now than it would have been before because it survived the trial."

Okay, so do you think I can send that to my agent for my next synopsis? I think I just summarized every book I ever plan to write. :)

Thanks again, Roseanna!

Sally said...

So appreciated your post, Rosanna! As an intuitive writer, this definitely was encouraging.

Roseanna White said...

LOL, Naomi. My last proposal wasn't a whole lot more. Toss in a setting, and that's about it. ;-)

Carol Moncado said...

Naomi-

My plot:

Boy meets girl.
Stuff happens.
Boy gets girl.

Does that work, you think? ;)

Walt Mussell said...

OK. Math is my strong subject. It's the one thing I tended to be good at grtowing up. However, I've never tried to apply it to writing.

Mary Preston said...

This was fabulous to read through thank you.

Roseanna White said...

Carol, that totally works for me. ;-)

Walt, you probably are applying it in some form. Maybe not direct this+plus=that, but the logic is no doubt there!

Gail Kittleson said...

Oh, Roseanna, this was pure fun to read--you widened the field. I love a world where there's room for ALL OF US!!!!

And a comment on Sandra Leesmith's observation - Sandra, are you musical? Just curious, b/c there's a lot of math in music.

Ahhhh...happy Saturday, everyone. Write away....

Gail Kittleson

Sarah said...

I would love to win,enter me!!!
Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
Sarah Richmond
sarahrichmond.12@gmail.com

Zanne Davis said...

Oh, I am so on board with you! When I started reading your article, I started yelling, 'Yes, yes! I don't have to change the entire way I do it!' When I write, it's just a paper and pencil rendition of what has played in my head a thousand times, with constant changes of how each scene works. And when I read the 'how to write' articles and books, I'm like, "I must be the dumbest writer in the universe because I just can't seem to understand how to go from step to step. I can't start with a hard outline and then sit at the computer and 'Wha-la! A book! I never write an outline first, and usually my synopsis is last, as I scan my finished manuscript. You validified the method I feel God has given me to write. Thank you so much! Blessngs!

Crystal Benedict said...

I love your book cover! It looks really good.

MinDaf @Aol.com

Naomi Rawlings said...

Sounds like a great plot, Carol. Why don't publishers base books on synopsis that look like that?

Susan said...

kindred spirit. Thanks for putting that all down in such readable and engaging form.

sarahanneloudinthomas said...

Love it! I like to know the labels and the rules so I can talk to other writers, but I often don't see them in my own work until it's done. Writing by faith.