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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Which Way to Go Next?

Which Way to Go Next?


I’m back to pantstering my WIP, my little steampunk attempt — which is turning out to be not so much steampunk as alternative historical fiction, but that’s okay for now. I realize this one is going to go through many drafts before it sees the light of day.

And that’s okay, too. After taking Strange Truths through something like five or six drafts before an agent got excited about it and guided me through a seventh draft – which made it even better — I have come to look forward to that process of evolution. A few weeks back, I wrote about revisions creating alternate universes for my characters and their stories, and I have to say I enjoy reworking manuscripts better than feeling my way blindly through the first draft. Which is what I’m doing right now.

At this point in my WIP, I have an outline and an end point in mind, but I’ve already diverted from the outline twice, and I’m about to go off in an unexpected direction.

Birds navigate by instinct, and I’m listening to my instinct as I write. I had barely finished writing Chapter 6, which had been planned and visualized since before I even started writing, when my instinct told me what was going to happen next.

Instinct: Anarchists blow up the train.
Dianne: What?!?
Instinct: You heard me.
Dianne: Why? How does that further the story?
Instinct: Trust me.

Okay, so I blew up the train – with the resulting mayhem, chaos, minor heroics, and a heavy weight of guilt for my MC, Mick, who used to have ties to these anarchists and has been trying to shake himself free of them.

I don’t know exactly where this story is going, but I do know what happens next.

And as long as there continues to be a “next,” I’ll keep writing and hopefully find out if my instinct knows where it’s going. And if not – well, there’s always revision.

Anybody else out there playing Blind Man’s Bluff with their WIP?

BTW — Marcy Hatch and I are still taking submissions for First Impressions. (See post below.) Send your first page for feedback. We are kind and gentle and full of good ideas …

8 Responses to Which Way to Go Next?

  1. mshatch says:

    ah, pantsering, so much fun, isn’t it? Can’t wait to read…

  2. salarsenッ says:

    I am so with you working with a draft then struggling through the first draft. For me, after all the vomit is on the pages I seem to make sense of them. Prior, it all seems like a muddled mess trying to find a place to live.

  3. I’m totally following instincts for my revisions. My first draft was a horrible thing to look at, so revisions are taking a toll and lots of re-writing is happening. I just changed the whole ending again. Instincts.
    I will check out your link.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. Linda G. says:

    Blind Man’s Bluff. That’s a perfect description for how I write. I take it on faith that my subconscious knows where it’s going.

  5. HAHA, I love your instinct. I wish my instinct would blow up trains for me. 😀

    I usually love the first draft – but that is also when I think it is brilliant. Then I let it sit, go back and read and !!!??!!!

    And then I pull out all my hair revising…

  6. That happens to me all the time with my outlines. The main thing is you have an outline to guide you back on the path, and your story is now even more (hopefully) exciting than you had orignally planned.

    Love the pink hair. I’ve seen some really bad pink hair shots, but yours worked out really well, Dianne. 😀

  7. Katie Mills says:

    I think everyone pantses at somepoint. I pants the outline, putting in and taking out in the order I feel things should go. It changes so much from the time I start the draft to the time I finish, things popping out of nowhere or being deleted in favor of something better. Instinct has her say no matter what.

  8. I’m a dyed in the wool plotter, but sometimes my best ideas come out of the blue, or as I’m writing, that usually throw my carefully woven plans into a huge jumbled knot.

    Good luck with your anarchists! 😉