I’m having some problems – writer problems. Instead of my usual procrastinating and not-in-the-mood to write problems that I eventually push through and get shit moving, I’ve hit a wall.
The real frustrating thing is knowing exactly what that wall is.
Let me explain…
You’ve probably heard of plotters, pantsers, and plansters. Plotters plot out their story before doing the dirty work, while pantsers write “by the seat of their pants” and on the go with little-to-no planning. Plansters are a hybrid of both.
I guess you can say I’m a Planster. I plot out my story using a bastardized amalgamation of various plotting and outlining techniques and formulas, but when I’m in the trenches, writing that draft, if something calls to me I will not hesitate to explore it – no matter how far away I drift from my outline. Usually, I’ll hit a hiccup or two, take a day of mental health where the whole time I feel guilty for being unproductive but have to constantly convince myself to chill the fuck out and give my brain a break to work out the kinks, and then get back to it and get over the hump.
Well… Not lately.
See, I’ve been working on this next novella for almost six months on and off that I didn’t plot out. I decided I’d try the full-on pantser method since I figured I got all of it planned out in my brain; I know how it starts, I know how it ends, and I have some pretty cool stuff I want to happen between those two. However, I reach this certain point, get stuck, lose my mind and, something I absolutely hate doing, start back from the beginning and start tweaking and rewriting the previous chapters in the hope that it’ll fix the logjam I created.
That logjam? It’s called The Promise of Premise.
It wasn’t until I decided to retroactively plot the thing out with my little notecards that the problem reared its ugly head.
A very important part of my little outline formula, regardless of whatever version of it I want to use, is The Promise of Premise. For those of you that don’t know what that is, I’ll tell you. It’s from The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet made famous by his book on screenwriting, Save The Cat!
Here is an excerpt from Tim Stout’s blog with a quick explanation of what The Promise of The Premise is, along with his other beats:
The Promise of the Premise – This is when Craig Thompson’s relationship with Raina blooms, when Indiana Jones tries to beat the Nazis to the Lost Ark, when the detective finds the most clues and dodges the most bullets. This is when the main character explores the new world and the audience is entertained by the premise they have been promised.
Boom! Opening done! Boom! Theme and tone set! Boom! Inciting incident! Yaddayaddayadaa and then pooh. This is poop.
I don’t care how extraordinary every other element of the story is, the characters need to drive the plot, and thus, when plotting, bounce from beat-to-beat with ease. My main character’s motivation is complex but not compelling. That is not to say it has to be simple, but for whatever reason, when it comes to explore this new world my main character has encountered in Act 2 of my manuscript – she is not compelling enough for me to get to the next beat.
Sure, I can inject some life with some minor characters or utilize some trope and mask it the best I can with crafty writing, but I’m not compelled to write her anymore; at least not at this point in time.
So, what did I do? I decided to plot out another story I had brewing in my head for some time last night. And what happened? I was cruising along, excited for this fresh new thing until I got to The Promise of The Premise and froze.
Fuck me, amirite? I’m stuck in my head.
This whole blogpost is a feeble attempt to conquer my funk by writing about writing.
Thanks for taking the time to listen to me gripe.
Here is my MANDATORY BLOGPOST MUSIC VIDEO that nobody watches 🙂