I’m not a “pure pantser” (Pantser, n. A person who does no planning for NaNoWriMo and therefore writes her novel draft in November the way an old-time pilot flew, “by the seat of her pants.”), at least not any more. Nor am I a planner, because doing an entire plot for a novel is a sure-fire way to burn myself out (“I’ve already told the story, why do I have to tell the freaking story?”)
No, what I’ve done is a couple of exploratory chapters, enough to give me a rough estimate of the story I want to tell. The pure, innocent victim has turned into kind of a bad guy, and one of the bad guys is not nearly so bad as I thought at first. Now, I have the meat of my story, and I can step back and do a very crude rough-in—nowhere near as detailed as some of the planners’ outlines I’ve seen, but enough so that I can get the crime in, get the clues in, and hopefully keep from revealing the end too early.
This is the software development method known as “middle out and muddle through”; a hybrid of prototyping and specifying that gave me a lot more room to maneuver when I was a software developer, and seems to be my best approach to novel writing so far. I have a title. I have a couple of villains, and a victim. I got some stuff going on with my protagonists that should be interesting. And a nice little thread of murder, too, with a frisson of magic.
Ex–cellent. (laughs evilly.)