Theory on Thursday with Mandy Magro

Today I have DELIGHTFUL rural romance author, Mandy Magro, visiting for Theory on Thursday. Mandy’s new book Jacaranda will land in a shop near you VERY soon. Mandy is talking about her writing process – I LOVE hearing about how other authors craft a novel, don’t you?

Welcome Mandy…

Thanks for inviting me onto your fabulous blog, Rachael. I’m thrilled to be here.

 Ever since you so thoughtfully asked me to be your guest today, I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to come up with a technical issue I could touch base on. One that would make me seem so savvy minded, so organised, so professional….and so worthy of the title of “Published Author”. And then it hit me, why not lay all my cards on the table and admit I am…wait for it…a pantser! And I love it!

 In my day to day life I’m an obsessively organised person with lists for lists for lists…you get the picture 🙂  I’m a firm believer in the saying that everything has its place, and that’s where it should be! So, in my writing life, where I can escape from the clutches of the daily grind, I love the freedom of being a pantser. It’s like I take on an entire new persona where my world can be as it will. It’s extremely liberating!

 Yes, I have read plenty of books that have explained all the ins and outs of plotting, and sometimes I use these proven techniques, but then other times, most of the time to be honest, I fly off the seat of my pants. Allowing my characters to take control of the writing reins and take me where they will on their adventures. I feel, for me, it provides maximum creative expression and frees me of the chains of serious plotting. Sometimes I even surprise myself with where the plot is heading and can’t type fast enough to keep up with the characters. It’s a fabulously euphoric feeling and I believe that this then passes onto the page and in turn entices the readers deeper into the storyline.

 Don’t get me wrong, though, as there are a few major points you need to get straight before sitting down to begin the very first chapter. Plotting can be a very useful tool at this time. Otherwise, you might find yourself drowning in redrafts and unnecessary edits-a writer’s worst nightmare!

 P.O.V is one of the biggest and you must decide before the very first word which way you are going to go with this. Too many P.O.Vs can confuse the reader and lose the strong emotional bond they attain with the main character unless it is done with immense skill. For me, I tend to stick to using P.O.V for the heroine and the man she is falling in love with. It helps me to obtain maximum sexual chemistry. And for those of you that have read Rosalee Station, you’ll know that I adore writing about sexual chemistry-leaving the bedroom door wide open for the readers.

 The other points I take into consideration are:

 1. Wants…what do your characters want most in life?  What drives them to do what they do? What are their dreams, hopes and aspirations?

 2. Conflict…what is stopping them in their tracks? What walls do they have to climb or battles do they have to face to achieve their wants, their desires?

 3. Action…what action will they take to get past the conflicts, to achieve the seemingly unachievable?

 4. Resolution…How do all these points above, wants conflicts and actions, round up in the ending. How are they resolved?

5. ESP…get inside your characters’ minds, express in detail their worries, fears and dreams. It makes them three dimensional. 

 So, with all this in mind before you begin your manuscript, pantsing can be outrageously fun, emotionally charging and absolutely thrilling. It doesn’t set you up for unforseen challenges-like if you get a decent way into your manuscript then discover that a character refuses to do what you have plotted them to do-instead it gives them free will to show you what they want to do next, not what may be expected of them because you have plotted it so, right back at the beginning. Pantsing can create the pathway for very exciting threads throughout the book, and very adventurous characters.

 As with everything in this world, what suits some may not suit others. For me, pantsing is the way to go while for others plotting may be their hard and fast rule. My best advice is to go with your gut instinct, do what makes you comfortable so you can be taken away on a mind-blowing adventure while tapping away at the keyboard.

 Thanks, again, for having me. It’s been an absolute pleasure! 🙂 

Right back at you Mandy, I think you’ve pretty much just described my plotting process too

You can find Mandy online at her website and on Facebook. Her latest book Jacaranda hits stores soon and the blurb is below:

JACARANDA BLURB:

At nineteen, Molly Jones has the world at her feet. Then one drunken night she falls into bed with Mark, a cowboy just passing through. By the time Molly realises she’s pregnant, Mark is long gone.

Now, at twenty-six, Molly’s life is almost perfect. She’s the devoted mother of Rose, and a renowned horse trainer. She lives amid the beauty of Jacaranda Farm, surrounded by family and friends – none closer than hunky stockman Heath. But she’s still looking for the love of her life, and a father for Rose. When Mark stumbles back into her world, as charming as ever, Molly begins to hope for a future she’d long ago relinquished. 

But how will Mark react when he learns he’s a father? And could the man of Molly’s dreams be closer to home than she thinks? 

From the author of Rosalee Station, this lively and passionate love story bursts with the colour and feel of Tropical North Queensland. 

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10 thoughts on “Theory on Thursday with Mandy Magro

  1. Great post. I’m a pantser, but know that this means oh-so-many revisions in my future. I’m working through a bunch of edits with my agent right now, and I’m beginning to think that for all of our sakes it might be better that I try to move over to the “dark side” of planning ahead!

    • Ooh good luck with the agented book Stephanie. I think I’ve become more of a plotter in the last few years, but I’ll never be able to map out every scene. I always have the few keys ones loosely in mind though 🙂

  2. Hi Stephanie! Thanks for popping by. I love being a pantser…I don’t reckon I could ever go over to the dark side of plotting 🙂 Great to read you are also one too! Cheers, Mandy Magro

  3. I hear you on the lists for lists for lists, Mandy. I have a ‘Mother List’ which is like the Mother Ship of Lists, categorising my To Do’s into different lists! I don’t always follow it but it helps my mind feel less overhwhelmed.
    I’m a bit more of a plotter, but I always write the first chapter as a pantser, not knowing what’s going to happen, and once that’s done, I write a page or so of notes and plot points and how I want the story to end. Then I can let loose writing the chapters with a basic idea of where they’re going, but often the characters surprise me along the way 🙂

    • Juliet – I too like writing the first chap and then sitting down and nutting out the conflicts, etc a little bit more. Until I’ve written the first chap, it’s all a bit hazy but I’m SO in love with writing beginnings and I think too much plotting would take the fun out of this bit!

      • Thanks for the insight into how you both write. I love hearing about other authors and their writing styles. We can be fascinating creatures! Good luck with the future books! Hugs, Mandy xx

      • We sure are fascinating creatures, us writers! It’s interesting how we all work a little differently to create a book. I guess there’s no hard and fast rules about how to do it, you’ve just got to do what works for you, and just keep writing!

  4. ‘Sometimes I even surprise myself with where the plot is heading and can’t type fast enough to keep up with the characters.’
    Yes, that can happen for plotters too (like me), though not often enough!

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