Wednesday – What type of writer am I?

Welcome to Writing Wednesday where I talk about writing!

In my time pursuing a writing career I have seen over and over that there are two kinds of writers: Pansters and Plotters. Plotters, of course, are those who sit down and plot every little scene of their book before they ever start writing. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants, never knowing what was going to happen next, caught up in the chaos and excitement of their words.

For the longest time I thought I was a pantser, even though I drew up general outlines. Why? Because usually around 30k words into a manuscript, I’d realize something was terribly wrong, and I had to go back to the beginning and start over.

Then, in one of my more useful MFA courses, we read a book called The Craft of Writing. In this book the author proposes there are two kinds of writers: Plot first writers, and Character first writers.

My problem suddenly became clear to me. I was a plot first writer – I had my story idea all figured out. However, I was a panster when it came to creating characters. So often by the time I made it to the middle of a book, I realized I was trying to shoehorn my character into something he wasn’t, merely to fit the shape of the plot I’d sorted out in the beginning.

This leads to a lot of re-writing.

I propose the following diagram for writer types:

I think this is more reflective of my writing style. I believe I fit in the lower left quadrant there.

Now that I know, I’m starting to spend more time with my characters before I begin drafting. If I get to know them first, then hopefully this will mean less re-writing in my future.

What kind of writer are you? Let’s chat in the comments!

Tuesday – Character I love

Things I Love Tuesdays is a weekly feature on my blog where I talk about things I love. Books, movies, it’s all good. Keeping things light and fun.

This Tuesday I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite characters in my books: Hank Abraham. Hank made his debut as a side character in Angel 1089. He was meant to represent everything about downside that Gabriel would hate. He was a hedonist, a masochist, and he had a secret past. But Hank grew beyond that symbolism.

Hank was one of those characters that sprang to mind fully formed. I wouldn’t say so much that I created him as that he just started talking one day and wouldn’t shut up. That doesn’t always happen to me. This was one of the rare cases where it did. And of course, he needed his own book, hence Exodus.

In Exodus we learn about Hank’s past, how he was once one of the pampered elite living in the floating city of Heaven. He starts out incredibly immature and privileged but we grow with him as the book concludes. Despite his immaturity, Hank has always had a good heart, and when he sees the injustices of his city, he ultimately can’t live with them.

Hank is also one of the two characters (His partner and Dom Ian is the other) who appears in all three Heaven Corp books. He steals the show in Angel 1089 (more than I meant him too), and gets to implant some good advice in Raphael’s ear in Angels Rising. I guess I couldn’t let him go completely, so we get that glimpse of how he and Ian are doing.

Cover wise – I think the first edition of Exodus had the best cover of Hank. It’s quite intense, but I really think it does him justice. So when I was re-releasing the book, I thought it was a good opportunity for Ian to shine instead. Which cover do you like better?

Have you ever had a character show up your head and demand his time in the sun? Tell me about it in the comments!

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