A plotter tries pantsing

So I was browsing I-Stockphoto one day, looking for pics for a book trailer video, and I came across this photo of a spooky road. I found it interesting. Intriguing and inspirational, really. The kind of picture you can create a story from. It would make a great book cover.

I downloaded a comp and the germ of a story idea took form in my mind. I write romances, or mainstream with romantic elements, so the germ was romantic.

I had the impression of a woman being driven down this scary road by a man she didn't know -- and, of course, being afraid. But since it would be a romance, they'd get past her initial fear, develop a relationship and end up with their own HEA. The title "Wrong Turn" came to me, so I made a cover (these are inspirational motivators for me) and put it on the back burner.

Every time I ran across my story-less cover, it would tempt me to write a story to match. I finally gave in and decided to attempt a 20,000-word novella, as several romance e-publishers are asking for them.

I'm a plotter -- have to outline, have to make notes, have to do research, have to illustrate... Gotta know my characters, gotta know what happens, and when, and why.

But I decided to write the novella by the seat of my pants. Pantsers, as they are known, just sit down and start typing, and go wherever the story leads. They don't know when they start where it might end up.

I've read that most writers are a little of both -- that pantsers do a little plotting; and that plotters sometimes let the story, or a character, lead them where they will.

I don't know if I can do this pantser stuff. Where this story's taking me is absolutely bizarre. It started taking on a "paranormal" cast. I don't do paranormal. Vampires, shifters, aliens -- forget it. Gimme a real flesh-and-blood son of Adam, a human male, a MAN for my hero. So my hero remained human, and the paranormal elements came from something else.


Yes, Bigfoot in Dixie, since my stories are set in the South. Don't laugh. The Pacific Northwest doesn't have a corner on crypto-primates.

So the story started taking shape... and unfortunately did a little plot shape-shifting, if you'll pardon the pun. What started out as a heroine lost in a storm and then trapped with a mysterious hero by flood waters, now has mad scientists and crypto-monkeys with psychotronic brain implants. Bizarre!

I'm tempted to give up on this story. Just toss it and start plotting a real romance, like normal. But I said I was going to pants it, so I'll keep plugging away at it, until I'm absolutely certain it is a lost cause.

Meanwhile, you natural pantsers out there... Does this ever happen to you?

First harvest...

These are the first items from my upside-down garden -- a couple of cucumbers. Frankly, folks, I'm amazed that this even happened. The big one is a bit small--about five inches long. But I've got 'em in the fridge cooling down. Looking forward to a cuke-and-ranch salad!


Book trailers revisited

In my latest essay for The False Rape Society blog, my subject was false sexual harassment statistics. (You can read the essay here: Rape Culture 101: The Little Brother of War.)

I gave a little background about my online search for the statistics, which I needed for a promotional video for my novel, Southern Man.

Now, because I enjoy editing videos (and Movie Maker is fun to play with) I ended up making four book trailer videos for Southern Man. But the one with the EEO stats has the greatest impact, I think.

Writing about my search made me nostalgic, so I've decided to post the video here. Enjoy!

Southern Man by Connie Chastain -- Book Trailer II from Connie Chastain on Vimeo.