Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

What if I discovered that instead of being a diehard pantser I have a plotter hidden deep within me? It may not be a 100% conversion—it may even be an aberrant experience.

How did this come about? As Heidi posted on April 30, our moderator gave our writing group the vague details of a plot created by a plot generator and assigned us the task of developing a plot. Say what??

I dragged out my books on plots. Lots of information on what a plot is but no guidelines on how to construct a plot outline that would have been useful for this exercise. Whenever required in the past, I’ve created my plots after I’ve written my story or book—never before. Lacking a better idea, I simply started writing my plot using the outline format in my Word document, writing until I reached an acceptable end to the story. (I knew the panster in me was attempting to sneak through when I ended the plot with dialogue.)

“Begin at the beginning,”…”and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll in “Alice in Wonderland.”)

I was surprised when the members of my group offered constructive ideas just from the two-plus pages of plot outline I submitted. Their comments came in handy when our next assignment was to write the story derived from our plot. Initially I was stymied—until I realized I had enough details in my plot that writing the story would be a breeze. A gentle one, not a hurricane.

First I updated my plot outline with the input from my writing group. That done, I saved my outline to a new Word document and started converting the plot outline to verse, line by line. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy! Shocking! Thrilling!

Is this all it takes to convert a pantser to a plotter? The jury is still out as I haven’t finished the story or submitted it to my writing group.

Epiphany: creating an outline is hard work but it appears if it is done correctly, the writing itself isn’t. I know what you’re thinking, one outline and she thinks she’s an expert at plotting. If only that were the case. But I am excited to apply this experience to other projects that I have in the works.


RIP Susannah Mushatt Jones, the oldest person in the world, who passed away yesterday in New York at the age of 116. How did she manage to live so long? Bacon and sleep!! I’ve been looking for an excuse to eat more bacon. And sleeping more shouldn’t be an issue. If I can manage to do both—such a hardship—I might be looking at 55 more years. That’s certainly enough time to finish, and publish, at least one novel.


About Karen Whalen

A contemporary fiction and domestic suspense writer with an accumulation of incomplete novels and short stories, I spend half the year in NH with our youngest daughter and family and the remainder of the year in Arizona with our other two daughters and their families. This arrangement allows my husband to golf year-round. I am fortunate that my daughters live in places I would have retired to all on my own!

Posted on May 13, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. (Better late than never.) I apologize for my error. I’m going to blame it on the medication.


  2. If you really did write the whole thing in verse rather than prose, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stand it. I thought I had left epic poetry behind me when I finished my dissertation!


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