There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Why This Pantser Loves Story Boarding May 18, 2014

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 12:20 am
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You’d think that, with all this talk of story bibles (or, as I like to call it, encyclobibliogrimoires) and such, that I would be more of a plotter than a pantser. But I’m really not. I try to plot, I really do. It just never works out for me. My characters start doing their own thing and I go with it, and my plans go out the window.

So how is it that I can love story boarding so much if I never go by my plans for my novels? Simple. I story board after I write. It’s a great way to keep up with a timeline and to mark important story points and world building areas. I tend to do this as I go in Scrivener, but having a physical story board really helps me creatively.

I’ve been reminded of why this is as I create a story board for my upcoming book Altar of Reality by Curiosity Quills Press. I just sent my first round edits back to my editor (yay!), finished pre-editor edits on Heirs of War, Crown of Flames, and am happily free to write. I’ve decided to write the sequel to Altar of Reality (tentatively the SHIFT series). But now that I’m free, the ideas just weren’t flowing. So what do I do?


I go back to the drawing board. Literally. Nothing gets me more jazzed about my story than looking at it from a cat’s eye view. It’s way too easy to get bogged down in the details when you are editing. And sometimes rereading it can be even worse. By the time you are at the point to write a sequel, you’ve edited that first sucker into the ground. You’re tired of looking at it. But story boarding allows you to look at the individual parts and how they stack up as a whole. You’re reevaluating the characters and the journeys they go through, which can help you figure out where they are going next. And it can be just the kickstart you need to whoop your writers’ block and get your muses agreeing with you again.

What are your thoughts on story boarding? Are you one with the digital age and aids available like Scrivener, or do you prefer the old school method?

❤ Mara Valderran


Dare I Say It? Romance in Fantasy August 7, 2013

Filed under: Reading,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 12:55 pm
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Kathi’s post, From out of Nothing, reflected me this week with my own post. It must be going around. Her statement, “As the deadline for my post slithered closer, I sat and banged my head against the desk praying for inspiration because, quite frankly, I had nothing”, is EXACTLY how I’ve felt. So I’m just gonna tell you what I’ve been up to in my current WIP——>Nothing.

Yep. Nothing.

I swear I’m not in a funk, nor do I have writer’s block. But I do have a slight issue with my story. I struggled through my plot issue and resolved it a few weeks back and I was like, Yeah, baby! But when I got down to writing and revising I realized I had another problem: the chemistry between my mc and her love interest was totally flat.

I hear some of you groaning already. Romance in fantasy? Enough already. Give. Me. A break.

Sorry, can’t do it. All my novels have romance. It’s how I’m wired. Anyway, while my two characters are off on their mad quest, battling blood thirsty monsters and defying vengeful gods, they fall in love. Writing sexual tension is nothing new to me, but these two characters have me pulling my hair out by the roots.

So what’s a writer to do?

Read. That’s what.

I’ve read twelve, TWELVE, contemporary romances in two weeks. Some were meh, with the emotional charge lacking even the smallest spark, while others were strong enough to jump start my SUV. I’m now going back through every one I read, and making notes as to what worked and didn’t, and why.

And though my FANTASY novel doesn’t have “in your face” romance, what is there should be as strong and powerful as every other element in the story. I’ve read fantasy novels where the romance or mystery seemed like an afterthought, which left me wondering why it was there in the first place. I don’t want any reader to say that about mine, so I’ll spend just as much time perfecting each glance, each kiss, as I do with world building and swordplay.

What do you guys think?

Happy writing! Kate


From Out of Nothing . . . July 27, 2013

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 6:00 am
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As the deadline for my post slithered closer, I sat and banged my head against the desk praying for inspiration because, quite frankly, I had nothing. Yeah, nada, zip, zero, zilch, nuttin’. It happens. I ran through the gamut of usual resolutions: I scoured other blogs looking for inspiration. I picked random topics out of the air. I asked my muses and was met with stony silence and an evil glare for interrupting their game of bones with the Fates. (I should be bothered that they hang out with each other but I’ve no control over their social life. It’s when the Fates bring Destiny along that I really start to worry.)

So, with the eleventh hour fast approaching I put my fingers on the keys and just started typing whatever came into my fevered grey matter. That led me to consider Writer’s Block and the fact that I don’t seem to suffer much from it any more. Except, apparently, where blog posts are concerned. Even that I’ve overcome by just writing. Anything. With the obvious exception of the phrase,


“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.”

I used to suffer from WB. Frequently. I’d stare at the blank page and freeze. I’d read what I wrote the day before. I’d edit what I wrote the day before. I’d trim the plan in the corner (for future reference, cacti aren’t the most fun to trim). But I just couldn’t move beyond. That would invariably lead to frustration, mental anguish, constant guilt and self-inflicted “you’re not worthy” tirades. During which time my muses would sit on the window sill and throw things at me.

Not good.

That doesn’t happen any more.


Go back to the beginning of this post. One of the things I do if I feel truly stuck, is just start writing. I don’t care what it is, how badly it’s constructed, how flat and meaningless the characters and non-existent plot are. It may start with dialogue, with action, a bit of fanfic from a show recently watched — it doesn’t matter. The key is to string some words together. It’s like priming a pump. Once it starts flowing, sometimes it’s hard to shut off.

Another remedy, at least for me, is having more than one WIP going at a time. Sometimes the brain just needs to switch gears. Being able to flip to another world and different characters keeps me from getting in a rut.

I also have given myself permission to put my brain on idle. This usually means playing a few rounds of Bubble Town during my writing time without amassing tons of guilt. Why? Because Bubble Town, while a nice little diversion, takes just enough thought to keep the front part of my brain occupied. That’s important because more, often than not, when I’m stuck it’s due to the frontal lobe running rough-shod over my creative center. Giving it something else to do allows my creativity to relax and breathe. Generally, whatever has been damning me up breaks free.

And if I’m really and truly stuck? I watch a movie or read –recreational reading or beta reading. Either works. Again, it forces me to relieve the pressure on my creative center. The subconscious. It works better when it’s not being controlled.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block? What are some of your cures?

~ K. L. Schwengel