I’m a Pantser, not a Plotter

Ginger picby Ginger Solomon

I’m not a plotter.

I tried once. It failed miserably. I got stuck in the writing process, and I felt stifled. I haven’t tried again.

That being said… sometimes it’s hard to plot after the novel is written, but that’s where I’m finding myself on one of my manuscripts (Eyes of Pearl). I sent it to an editor, and she sent THE nicest rejection letter I’ve ever received. That was early last year. I was editing the second book (The Eyes of Her Heart) in what I hoped would be a series, but since they were not tied to one another, it didn’t matter if one came before the other, so I kept working.

In the middle of those edits, I received my first contract (One Choice). I had to set the one manuscript aside (TEoHH) to work on a completely different one (OC). In between waiting for edits, I would go back and work on the second manuscript(TEoHH). (Don’t you just love how confusing this is? Let me go back and add some titles…hold on.) OC debuted, and I was all over the ‘net guest posting, all while continuing to work on TEoHH. EoP was on a back burner. Well, now TEoHH is being looked at by an agent, and OC is a few months old, so I have the time to go back and work on EoP. (I tried writing a new novel (or two), but neither story was speaking to me, thus my return to this one.)

But now I have a 60,000 word novel that needs another 25-30,000 words, and I’m clueless. 🙂  I’ve read through it once in the last few days–deleting and rewording, and I know it needs more, aaf45-indecisionmaybe a sub-plot. I’m just not sure where to add it. This is where you come in…mwhahaha (evil laugh). I’m going to write the blurb… help me find ways to deepen and expand the plot.

Eyes of Pearl – 17th century Scotland (could possibly be moved to late 18th century/early 19th century)


After the death of her brother, Neva Mackinnon is finally free of the fear she’s lived with since her mother’s death. But now she’s left to fend for herself on the outskirts of a town whose inhabitants believe her to be a witch. Alexander Chisholm, laird of clan Chisholm, needs a wife to provide him an heir. When he hears a song in the woods and finds a beautiful lass, much like his beloved mother, he knows she is the one. He soon discovers her fear and fiery spirit are a challenge he must overcome to win her trust. Can he do it or will his desire to maintain his fierce reputation prevent their love from weaving a beautiful tapestry?

I wrote out a really long overview, but it made this post TOO long, so ask as many questions as you’d like, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Even if you have no specific advice for this manuscript, but have been through this before, I’m open to suggestions. What do I need to do to make this longer and better?


8 thoughts on “I’m a Pantser, not a Plotter

  1. Have you thought about adding a real witch in there, maybe one that no one knows about who tries to have our heroine burned at the stake? 🙂

    • No, Jen. I didn’t want to make it more evil. I do have a guy that I CAN make a warlock though. Hmmm…See my reply to sparksofember, below, to see the cast of characters.

    • Sparks, here are the supporting characters:

      Dubh – Alex’s black stallion. He only allows Alex to handle him, until Neva comes along and they seem to have an instant bond.

      Iain – tanist to Alex (2nd in command). He at first believes the lies about Neva, but eventually changes his mind.

      Cybil – Neva’s only friend before Alex came along. She helps Neva sell her weaving in town, and buys her supplies. After Neva and Alex are married, her husband dies and she moves, later to be found by Dermot (see him below) in a tavern.

      Dermot – sixteen-year-old foster son to Alex. It was common for relatives to send their teen sons to live with another relative to be trained in a specific field.

      Fiona – head houseservant for Alex. She also “warmed” Alex’s bed and hates Neva for usurping her “place.”

      Una – devoted servant/friend to Neva when she arrives at Alex’s home. She dies from a sickness Neva contracted and brought to the castle.

      Moireach – one of Alex’s relatives, but also one of his warriors. Moireach is out for revenge because when Alex was 16 he won a fight against 18-yr-old Moirogh, Moireach’s twin. The fight caused Moirogh to become despondent and he later committed suicide, which Moireach blames Alex for.

      Jen, he is the one I could make a warlock, but I really don’t think it’s necessary. He sends anonymous letters to Alex, threatening to take away his chieftainship, and his life. For months, he plays nice with Alex on one side, but on the other he is behind all of the threats to Alex’s leadership. I could make this a side-story, more than I have.

      I hope this gives you a little more insight into the story.

    • Arrgh, I forgot to answer your other questions… The town is only in the story at the beginning when they get married. Alex actually lives over an hour away (by horse). He was taking a ride to inspect his land when he found Neva.

      There is no real event that makes them work together. The whole story is about their first few months of marriage – a rocky start, if you will. It’s a story of trust, which neither of them are very good at in the beginning. They have to work together to learn to trust each other, but there are quite a few obstacles which occur that make them doubt each other.

  2. So the story doesn’t end with Alex & Neva overcoming obstacles to be together? That’s what I was expecting from the blurb. But after reading the side character’s it looks like the story continues after they are married? What is the main obstacle of the plot? What happens with Dermot & Cybil – is there potential for cute side-romance there? Could Fiona team up with Moireach? He gets his revenge by trying to hurt the woman Alex loves, she gets rid of the woman she views as usurper?

    • Dermot didn’t protect Neva from Fiona’s plot to send her away while Alex is fighting for the king, so Alex tells Iain to send him home. Instead Iain takes him as his student instead.

      Cybil joins Neva at Siosal (Alex’s home) after Alex returns from fighting and finds Neva quite malnourished and very bitter because she believes some of the lies Fiona has been telling.

      If there’s to be a side-romance it would be Iain and Cybil. I have hints of it in the beginning, but that part was cut later on as I changed the way the story unfolded.

      Fiona and Moireach do team up, though it’s not shown a great deal because I don’t have any scenes from either of their POVs. Both are discovered and punished by the end of the book. 🙂

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