Fiction Friday: No Plot, No Problem…?

So since Monday’s post focused on pants versus plot, I was a little lost as to what to write for my fiction post today. However, my lovely friend Lyn leapt to the rescue, and offered writing about someone who’s pantsing it, and someone who’s plotting. Given that I only have one extant character who’s ever done NaNo… It’s time for y’all to meet (or possibly re-meet) Gannon Cutel. He’s a friend of Jade’s from Rather Large Puddle, he’s a figure skater who’s very focused on creative writing, and if he has to say one more time that he’s straight, he’s going to punch something. So let’s let Jade and Gannon chat a bit, hm? This is from Jade’s POV.

I peeked in the library, the last place I could think of that Gan might have tucked himself away in. Sure enough, in the back corner study desk, curled over a notebook, I could just see the shock of dusty blonde hair I knew had to be his.

“Hey you,” I said, leaning on the wall to the desk. He started, dropping his pen, and I laughed. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. Writing a horror?”

“I…no, not quite.” He straightened his glasses. “I’m still working on that part.”

I frowned. “Working on it? What do you mean?”

“Well, there’s a certain element of surprise that most of my stories seem to throw at me.” Gannon leaned back in the chair. “I have at least a basic idea of where the story’s probably going to go, and I see what my characters actually want from me.”

“You don’t have a plan? Like an outline or something?” I was horrified. If I ever tried to write any of the creative writing things I’d been assigned without an outline… It’s why I liked poetry so much. I didn’t need to outline, I could just think and go.

Gannon made a face. “No, I’ve never really done well with outlines. I’ve got a whole book outlined in a notebook back at home, like in New York. I think I’ve actually written about…three chapters of it? I can’t get motivated.”

“But it’s all right there!” I didn’t understand. “You’ve got the whole book! All you have to do is get the words on the page; why is that hard?”

He shook his head. “That’s exactly the problem, though. It’s all right there. I’ve already written the story in my head. If I go and outline it, I’ve told the story.  There’s nothing left for me to do.”

“But…that’s…” I moved the chair from the next desk over so I could sit next to him. “But it’s not the same.”

“I know that, intellectually, but sometimes my brain just doesn’t care.” He rolled his shoulders. “So especially for NaNo, I just have to wing it. Do the whole book by the seat of my pants, because I know that if I try to do anything else, I’m screwed. I’ll never make it to 50k.”

I shook my head. “You’re a lunatic for trying this at all. Fifty thousand words? In a month? Is that even possible?”

Gannon nodded, grinning. “Of course! One thousand six hundred and sixty seven words a day, every day. I try to shoot for two thousand a day, so I have a bit of a buffer on my bad days.”

“Two thousand words. I can’t even imagine doing that, not one day and especially not thirty days. You’re lucky Taylor’s letting you use your journal for writing.”

“It definitely helps,” he allowed. “I tried to do it last year, but…” He made an indistinct gesture. “Last year was rough.”

“Yeah, I bet.” I still didn’t know the details of what exactly Gannon had been fighting through last year, nor what brought him and Tara out to Colorado in the first place, but just from the tone of their voices when they talked about it, I knew it wasn’t a good thing to ask about. “So…what are you writing about this year?”

The smile came back, and I couldn’t help but grin in return.

“Okay, so it’s about this guy, right?”


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