Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Guest Post: To Plot or Not to Plot: That is the Question by A.J. Lape

When I started writing, I didn’t even know someone along the great literary way had divided us into groups. Wouldn’t you know I’d fall into the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants one? For those that are into the label thing, there are two types of writers: plotters and pansters. A plotter is like a general. They like structure and plan things out before they even open a notebook or fire up their laptops. In fact, the lack of organization is kind of like trying to get to California from Podunk, Kentucky without a road map. They’d feel more prepared if they had an outline in their heads of what would get them from Point A to Point B. A panster, however, may have an overall plot in mind, but mostly they’re flying blind, letting the story develop as they peck on their keyboards. In fact, pesky rules tend to disrupt the creative juices.
Oh, God help me, I’m sooooooo a panster. I spent two weeks making an outline once, only to throw all that hard work out when I got to chapter three. In fact, I often write chapters out of sequence because that scene is so strong in my head that the characters won’t leave me alone until I immortalize their little rants and ravings. I’m actually like one of those little pilot fish, just sucking on the back of a character and hanging on for the ride. That being said, a panster often doesn’t know the end of their stories until they get to the last chapter. And even then, rewrites might change pertinent details on what they think is a finished product before it is uploaded for sale.
Here’s an example. I’m revising DEFCON Darcy right now, book four in the Darcy Walker Series, and it was actually the first book I wrote. So for me, I haven’t even written the books in my series in order. What happened with DEFCON Darcy was once I wrote the book I realized I needed to go back in Darcy’s past to explain how she became the person up to that point. It took three books for me to feel comfortable rolling out DEFCON Darcy and tackling the albatross around her neck that made her the Darcy the reader knows her to be: that catalyst being the mysteries surrounding the absence of her mother. That being said, I wrote the majority of DEFCON Darcy in 2008. Now that I have revisited it again, I’ve written in a character from book one, Grade A Stupid, because without him, there would be a huge gap in the story. Did I know this character needed to be there in 2008? Um, no, he was barely a blip on the proverbial radar, but the evolution of the series made this character a glue that will tie all four books together nicely.
And for a little peek into my personal psyche, that is totally unlike who I am as an individual! As a person, I like to have Plan A, and then if Plan A goes down the sewer, I will make a Plan B and C. When I write, it was only logical to think I’d operate in the same fashion, but my creative process doesn’t cooperate. I can’t force things by an outline, I wish I could—things might go faster—but I will let characters lead me where they want to go and when I feel that wash of peace drizzle over me, I know a scene is what it should be. So in essence, there is no right or wrong way to create—whether a plotter or a panster. It’s what works best for the author and gets those creative juices flowing.

Book & Author Details:
100 Proof Stud by A.J. Lape
(The Darcy Walker Series #3)
Publication date: May 13th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

Sometimes life smacks you right in the kisser with a whole lot of ohhhh craaaaap.

Just ask Darcy Walker.

100 Proof Stud picks up four months after No Brainer’s cliffhanger ending, and Darcy discovers the aftermath pales in comparison to the crisis her heart is in. All of a sudden it’s raining men, and this teenage heroine’s personal life turns her inside out.

Before she can sort out her feelings, she chases a spray-painting vandal and stumbles upon a case of identity theft right in her own backyard. Darcy jumps into the fray headfirst to prove she can hang with the big boys.

But it’s not just to hang…nope, she’s chasing reward money.

Tapping her band of misfit brothers for help, she turns Valley upside down trying to unearth the criminals. Problem is, the cloak and dagger goes high-octane, and she raises the bar on “crazy” in the process.

Bullets ring out…dead bodies appear…and Darcy rubs shoulders with the ultimate sociopath. In the midst of murder and mayhem, will she finally follow her heart or build a fortress of lies around it? Will she even get the chance?


A. J. lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two feministic daughters, an ADD dog, a spoiled hamster, and an unapologetic and unrepentant addiction to Coca-Cola. She studied English, Journalism, and Political Science at Morehead State University and left the business world when her daughters were born. Her love for suspense and a good story was born from watching Mystery Science Theater with her sister during childhood. That and any B-movie with comedic undertones they could get their hands on.

From a small town in Kentucky, her sister and she lived in their imaginations on a regular basis, and A.J.'s love for the bizarre and paranormal still holds true to this day. She loves roller coasters, scary movies, and haunted houses and the weird sense of accomplishment it gives her when she can make it through without keeling over.

If Life has taught her anything, it's the need to acquire a wicked sense of humor, come up swinging, and to never, ever give up...no matter what obstacle is in front of you.

When she's not riding that razor-thin line between creativity and insanity, she likes to read, watch too much cable TV, or cheer like a banshee at her daughters' sporting events.

A. J. loves to connect with fans! You can find her via Twitter and Facebook or send an email.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ajlape
Twitter: http://twitter.com/darcywalker13
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAJLape
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/ajlape

Blitz-wide GIVEAWAY 1 Open to US and Canada - Ends June 2nd
--2x signed paperbacks of Grade A Stupid (book 1) by A.J. Lape
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GIVEAWAY 2 Open INTL as long as Amazon ships there
 --Kindle 6" Wifi
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