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There’s no one else to blame but myself. Well, maybe the characters of my novel in progress, Ghost Guide. But are they really at fault? Some are dead, some are alive and they’re just trying to get their stories into my brain so I can get them out on the page. And that’s where we run into our problem:
I’m a pantser. Totally.

Coutesy of Beverly & Pack / photo on flickr

There…I said it. I keep hearing that recognizing the problem is the first step to recovery. Except I don’t see it as a problem and no, I don’t want to recover from it either. It’s who I am, it’s how I write and I can’t shut off the valve to stem the flow of countless great ideas that shatter the previous five that I’m already mulling over. It’s amazing how many novels, short stories and feature articles I’ve conquered in instant thought-draft-form. Damn it, if that didn’t only pay better.
My latest off-course drift in Ghost Guide, (or is it just a new course) expanded by adding a second, nearly identical piece of jewelry to one that is instrumental in the story. Two is always better than one, right? It has to be. That’s why pantsing is so great; it only makes the story better, otherwise why would I think of it in the first place. And the consequences of this great, new idea has spun off additional side plots, much like a thunderstorm that spawns several tornadoes.
But now a previously scene written, so pivotal to the relationship of two living characters and critical to the ghostly ones, (so they can move on,) has to be revised. Half-way through that revision I found I’m missing a supporting scene for the third ghostly character, who keeps telling me he has to have something to do witht this. He’s just not smart enough, or too stubborn, to tell me out right. I asked him for help when I was driving for 17 straight hours last week. I asked him when I was at the beach. I repeated my request while fishing and even in an evening’s drunken stupor. Still he refuses to give up the goods, obviously knowing I can’t kill him off since he’s already dead!
To make matters worse, he’s holding one of the jewelry pieces and is toying with the idea of getting his hands on the second one, which could only complicate the plot….
Wait a second. Hang on here. I think I just “pantsed” my way out of this.
Boy, I love not being pinned down to an outline.
Besides, if all else fails, I can always throw in vampire or two…