I’m a pantser when it comes to writing my stories. That is I just write them and figure out all the plot points and such after the fact. This works fairly well for me as my subconscious is much better at storytelling than my conscious mind.
Most of the time it works out great. Every once in a while it is a disastrous mess.
Recently I discovered that I had completely missed an important theme in a novel. Missed it completely. It was supposed to be a thread running through the whole novel and it wasn’t there at all. This novel is book 2 of 3, and this thread is the one that ties book 1 to book 3. I can’t just shrug and say “oops”.
It’s no easy thing, weaving a theme back into a novel. In this case it means that some scenes are written from the wrong point of view. Others are just plain wrong and need to be replaced. Some of the scenes are not in the right order. That’s just the big stuff. Then I’m going to have to shift the details in the scenes that are already mostly written so they will match the new theme.
I wish I could rant and rave about all this. I just can’t. It’s one of the hazards of pantsing my way through my first drafts. I’ve known since the first time I skipped the outlining phase of writing an essay way back in high school.
Back then, I had to write the outline after the fact because my teacher insisted it was part of the assignment. Now I only write an outline when something like this happens.
So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m writing the outline of the book that should have been. Then I will get down to the hard work of making it the book that is.
Wish me luck.