My name is Brea, and I'm a pantser. In life, in writing, in everything. I operate by the seat of my pants and whatever happens happens. I'm also a Type A personality. I'll give you a second to ponder that dichotomy. [elevator music plays]
Okay, so as you probably have figured out, pantsing and Type A aren't the most obvious match. In fact, they're quite the odd couple. And sometimes this creates tension in my life. I prefer to call it "adventure," though.
See, these two personality quirks are constantly at war with each other. The pantser in me wishes I could be more devil-may-care. Ms. Type A wants me to be more organized and regimented.
"Regimented" isn't a problem. I'm a routine addict. Gotta have a routine. If the routine is disrupted or has to be adjusted, look out! Mama's not happy. And "spontaneous" isn't in my vocabulary. You want to make plans to do something with me? I need at least two weeks' notice, so I can dread said activity, which no doubt will disrupt my precious routine. No, I definitely don't have a problem with maintaining a regimen.
"Organized" is more of a problem. I'm a sucker for buying organizational tools that I'm good about using for about... oh... a week. When my kids go back to school each fall, I bust out the white-erase calendar and message board, hang hooks for backbacks, set out baskets for shoes, plan meals, and hand out daily homework planners. By the second week of school, I'm exhausted from trying to enforce the utilization of said tools, and I'm sick of cooking meals nobody (including myself) really wants to eat.
So I go back to pantsing. Laundry piles up, shoes find themselves in the strangest of places, and it's not unusual for the white-erase calendar to still display the prior month's activities. We're back to regularly scrounging sandwiches, soup, and cereal for dinner and finding out the day before a project is due that the assignment even exists. Delightful.
Same thing happens with my writing. Routine? I have it down. Every morning from 4:30 to 6:30, I write. The publication process is the same every time. Rough draft, read-through, second draft, read-through, beta draft to readers, re-writes, read-through, edits, edits, edits, read-through, formatting, publication. I have checklists for my checklists. I go from A to Z like it's second nature.
But storytelling is another matter. It begins with an idea that takes root and blooms. But this is no tidy rosebush or hedgerow. This is a creeping vine that twists and curls wherever it chooses. Usually, I have no idea where it's going to go until it's there, entrenched as if that was the plan all along. It makes the process of telling the story just as unpredictable and exciting as if I were reading it for the first time. I love it. It's exhilarating.
Until... I actually want to plan something. Like, say, decide that a certain book series is going to be a trilogy and brand it as such before I've actually written the entire series. Trilogies are neat and tidy. They satisfy that Type A side of me quite nicely. And it happened to work out well with my Nurse Nate series that the story fit into three books. So, why not do it again, right?
Enter my Underdog Trilogy. Trilogies are the best! I thought. So I started writing. As usual, I had very little idea of where the story was going to take me or what was going to happen from one book to the next. I was along for the ride with Maura and Jet, living the football life, bouncing from season to season. I wrote two books and zoomed onto the third--and presumably final--installment.
One-hundred-twenty-thousand words later...
Oh, dear. This isn't the end. But it has to be the end. Because, by definition, a trilogy has three books. And the word "trilogy" is very plainly on the cover of the first book. And included in all of the branding I've done for the series. So... three and out, baby. Gotta wrap it up. But there's still story to tell. And the story dictates everything. In this case, the characters are telling me their story isn't finished, and a book can't be 300,000 words, just so I can say I stuck to my original plan.
This reminds me of something else in my life. Oh, yeah. That time I said we were finished having kids after two. Hahahahahaha! Whoopsie! Babies happen. And, apparently, so do fourth books... in trilogies.
So I guess what I'm trying to say here is... the Underdog Trilogy is about to be rebranded as the Underdog Series. And I can do that, because I'm the boss of me (when my characters--and life--aren't hijacking my world).
Now, where did I put that permission slip that's due back to school tomorrow...?
Be on the lookout for the second book in the Underdog Series, which releases this winter. If you haven't already read the first book, Out of My League, now's your chance to get caught up, just in time for football season!