I started to share another rant about my characters, but Zzzz…. – boring! They’re still misbehaving, but so what? They’re revealing a number of sources of conflict and forcing dramatic irony to materialize.

After eighteen months of learning that I needed to rewrite, then learning how to rewrite and finally – actually doing it, I had forgotten the year it took to produce a first draft. To remind myself, I revisited my very first completed narrative of Sparks. It was well worth the laugh. The narrative has no resemblance to the novel – or even the finished first draft. Outlining or using a scene table for it would have been a complete waste of time.

For this second novel, I’m confident enough in the rough version of the story to have set up a preliminary scene table. Folly? Time will tell. In any event, it’s now time to just let the words flow. I promised myself I wouldn’t pantz this time, but I have to break that promise. It was a foolish one, made before I had reminded myself of what it takes to write a first draft – time in the chair. Lots of it, while I suffer through the fits and starts of the story revealing itself.

I now know that my stories require a balance of pantzing – mostly during the first draft, and plotting – mostly during rewriting. While I have to accept that the journey for every book will be different, I still must use what worked for me in the past. I’ve been so anxious to get to the rewriting stage that I was short-changing myself on the material I’ll need when I get there. Bad idea.

Now that I’ve figured that out and gathered up all of my snippets, my full first pantzed narrative is – finally – under way. Game on!

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