There are two types of authors. Pantsers and Plotters.
A pantser is an improviser. They play the song by ear. They roll with it and whatever comes out is what gets on the page. If it sounds good, it’s good.
A plotter is someone who makes an outline of the story at the beginning and they fill in the gaps.
Both are improvisers. They both improvise the book, story, song during creation, but the approach is different.
Lotus and I are a mixture of the two. Sometimes we will discuss future plot points in the book or bounce ideas off each other. There is no outline or any real plan for the entire book but we work together to make the story happen.
I’ll be writing a chapter and get writer’s block then he will take over and write something to pull me out. If we both get stuck, then we will go to discord and discuss what happens next. Sometimes you can’t pants a novel 100%. That’s okay.
We come together and debate what happens next. A lot of times we see eye to eye on what should happen next, other times we don’t. We had a lot more debates happening when we wrote The Decay because honestly… neither of us ever wrote a novel before that. We wrote short stories, and creepy pastas, but never a full 300+ page novel.
There is no wrong way to write a novel. You can be both a pantser and a plotter.
That was the beauty of writing The Decay though. I did more research during the writing of The Decay than I ever did back in college. I read every article, blog post, read other books, went to thrift stores to get a ton of novels in my genre, and I learned A LOT.
The entire book was improvised though, 100% done as a pantser. Some people can do that for every book but when our work-in-progress “Dreamer” came along… that’s when we had to do both. Dreamer is a prequel to Second Sight: The Decay. It was like a spin-off or companion piece to explore the world of The Decay more… but it became its own book entirely. It’s still a 100% prequel but we have to plan more this time so it fits with the original book.
We also have to make sure it’s a standalone novel. That’s an entirely new undertaking because I am a pragmatist. I know that not every book store, thrift store, or library will get the entire series. You may walk into a bookstore and see one of our books and think… I love the concept but I don’t have book 1 so I can’t read this.
So we made them standalone books that are all connected directly, but not so much that you’d have to start at the understanding the story. We do it via callbacks, small little winks, and nods, and locations visited in previous novels. It’s not required reading, but if you read them all in order, it helps open a whole new level to each book.
You can read The Decay before Dreamer. Or skip Dreamer entirely if the concept bores you. You can read Black Sun (a spin-off novel of The Decay) without reading all the others. It helps a lot to read them but there is no hard line of “I have to read Dreamer to understand The Decay“. We made sure that wasn’t the case from the beginning.
I am a pantser…. but I’m also a plotter. It’s okay to be both as long as the story you put out makes you happy.