91,000-A pantser getting past writer’s block

I have found, over the last few years, that I am a seat-of-the-pants writer, a pantser, meaning I make the stories up as I go along. More, if I plan too much, I don’t want to write the story anymore. So, there I was, writing the fifth and last book in The Dreaming King Saga (see link on the menu). For this book, The Gates of Heaven, I think I knew too much about the plot. After all, I had been thinking about it since I started book 1 years ago now.

As I wrote another battle scene–trying to find a new tactic the good guys might use and a new counter the enemy would try, and vice versa–I found myself uninterested. This is the biggest war in the entire series-it being the final book and all. In fact, it might be as big as all the other wars in the other four books combined. As a good story teller, I have to up the ante for the series climax in some way, and there is good reason why so many legions would fight in this war.

What to do? What to do?  Well, first, being a writer, I struggled. My daily word counts went down. I knew where the story had to go, and it wasn’t like I could change it. I put in prophesies and clues throughout four books, after all. So, I pushed on through the middle of the book-rising tension, events not going the way the good guys want, etc.

What got me out of this funk? Two things, really. First, right after the Dreaming King says that Kala, the Tigress, is integral to the outcome, I have Kala get captured and controlled by the enemy. How is Kala going to get out of that? See, as a seat-of-the-pants writer, I did not know-that’s what made it fun. What can she do if someone else is controller her body? I know now, because I wrote it.  I also had a battle go wrong and an important character get killed. That also managed to get an ambassador, mostly along for the ride, involved in the war–she found a role.

I didn’t know any of this would happen when I started the book. I didn’t know it would happen two chapters earlier.  There have been a couple times in this book where in the flow of a scene, I thought, “What if I…” The gut reaction then was, “I can’t do that to them!  It’s too important!” So, of course, I did just that in every case.

Now, a little bit later in the story, I have reached the climactic battle.  Everything is in place, and everyone is ready. All the prophesies, hints, and foreshadowing are about to pay off. I even have a job for Queen Carlota, who got left behind when the armies marched to war. But how can she be involved if she’s 250 miles away? We have magic for that. It’s kind of like having an app, only different.

The Gates of Heaven stands at just over 91,000 words. It will be a little over 100,000 by the time I’m done.