The Hazards of Pantsing
My name is Teresa Noelle Roberts and I’m a pantser.
I go into a story with a vague idea of a setting, a few plot points, a character or two and somewhere along the line, with luck not too far in, I figure out the story my muse wanted me to tell.
Usually, this works, for some definition of “works.” However, the end result often bears only the faintest resemblance to what I originally had in mind.
Take Lions’ Pride, for example. It was originally going to be called Your Lion Eyes, a pun on the old Eagles song. The opening scene would involve an animal control officer reluctantly following up on a call about an “illegal exotic pet” and meeting the shape-shifter couple of his dreams. It was going to be light-hearted and cute, even comical, though sexy—with a title like that, how could it not be tongue in cheek? It was going to incorporate some of the crazier stories my animal control officer husband has collected over the years. And it was going to be a novella.
About two pages into it, I realized Jude, my lion hero, smelled danger in the air as well as excitement. Then my other hero Rafe told me a) he was a cop, not an ACO and b), he too was a dual, a cougar shape-shifter. A closeted one. But why was he closeted?
That’s when the evil government conspiracy reared its ugly head.
Ninety thousand words later, I had a book that involved a shape-shifting lion, a sexy, spunky woman, and the man in uniform who loved them both. But instead of being as full of puns, slapstick and absurdity as a Bugs Bunny cartoon, only with a lot more three-way sex, it’s full of violence, dark magic and angst. People die. Lives are broken apart in dramatic and painful ways.
There’s still a lot of hot three-way sex. Some things remain consistent and if my name’s on the cover, steamy lovin’ will abound. But that and Jude the lion dual are the only things it has in common with my original idea.
Maybe I’ll still write the paranormal comedy someday. Probably when I’ve set out to write something dark, angsty, and realistic.