A Pantser's Best Friend: Research!
You already know I’m a pantser as a writer, which means each day I sit down in my office chair, place my fingers on the keyboard…and write. ‘Seat of the pants’=pantser. I don’t follow an outline and on any given day when I’m working on a scene, I’m not sure where the story will take me. Hell, often I’m as surprised as the reader to discover the identity of my villains!
I’m a pantser as a researcher, too. I won’t do all my research before I begin my novel; normally I look up information for particular scenes or plot lines. Now, this is where research becomes my creative partner.
As I look up facts, vocabulary, anecdotes, and notable people, I’m energized by what I learn and I’m excited to add found tidbits to my story. Even more of a kick is to search deeply enough to get fresh ideas for my plot. An example: I needed my character (Sable Chisholm in FIRE IS NICE) to have lost the use of her amygdala (the brain’s fear center), yet not die, and not be so damaged she couldn’t function as a Law Enforcement Ranger. I found out carbon monoxide poisoning would do the trick. My job was to figure out how she accidentally got poisoned, and how, upon survival, she could hold down her Ranger job.
See how fun this is…and how creative the process?
I hope you’ll read FIRE IS NICE, to learn how Sable juggles a complex series of crimes, and a love interest, all the while taking advantage (as well as tempering) her fearlessness.