I had years to stew on my first novel, The Shadow Scribe. Decades actually. I would say that I had about 50% of it written in my head before I ever put it on paper. I knew the characters, the setting was crystal clear, the plot defined. I considered myself the ultimate plotter, with every chapter outlined before I ever started writing.
In contrast, my new idea is just that -- an idea. My plot diagram is complete (I use Aristotle’s Incline which I learned from Robert Ray’s The Weekend Novelist but I also like the Screenplay Structure method) but when I try to outline it, I find myself writing things like “stuff happens here.”
I know that it is the kind of story that can only evolve as I write. Which means that I am about to have my first experience as a pantser. GASP! Some nights, I lay awake paralyzed by fear. What if I can't write it? What if it fizzles out?
But I also have moments of real optimism. I have no preconceived ideas of exactly how this story will go. I know my first novel is weaker because I could only imagine one way to write it. While I’m nervous about switching teams from plotter to pantser, I’m excited too.
There are lots of posts out there on plotters vs pantsers (like this excellent one by Roni at *Fiction Groupie*) so I’m not going to get into the definitions. But what I want to know is: Have you ever switched teams (plotter to pantser or pantser to plotter)? Do you ever wish you were one instead of the other?