We all have our own routines and processes when we write. Some of us wing our way through a draft. Others plan. Years go by and we learn new tricks and techniques. We experiment different ways of writing novels. We try out different methods of drafting and editing.
I'm always trying new things. For instance, with my WiP, I'm typing it in a weird font because for some reason the voice comes out better than with Times New Roman. Of course I'll change it back to TNR before I submit, but it's fun to draft it this way.
But I did something REALLY crazy for me the other day. I actually PLOTTED out the last quarter of my WiP. I've never done this before, because I've always been a strict pantser (meaning, if you're new to writing lingo, I draft by the seat of my pants.)
I got to this point because of my lovely agent Emmanuelle. She's teaching me seriously helpful things.
For instance, when I got ready to query before, I'd polish up the manuscript, send off a few queries, and then maybe think about writing a synopsis as an after thought. But Emmanuelle has been teaching me how to use the synopsis as a tool. She has taught me to study the synopsis to find places where I can heighten the tension, raise the stakes, and also analyze character arcs.
It occurred to me (I'm slow sometimes) that this is what people do when they plot in depth BEFORE they start the novel. Technically they're taking out the guess-work and going in with a really strong story. (I still think it's possible to mess up with this, because there are always characters who don't want to cooperate with really strong story lines ... but that's a blog post for another day.)
I don't think I'll ever be a firm plotter, but I like the bird's eye view a synopsis gives me when I'm editing.
And in this case, since I was having a hard time envisioning my WiP's ending, a one-page plot plan is helping me get there. Who knows if I'll stick to it. I'm sort of a free spirit. But it's actually nice to have a plan. (I can't believe I'm saying that!)
I know I've asked before whether you're a plotter or a pantser, so I'll change the question. Do you use your synopsis as a tool? Or do you type it up last minute when an agent requests it?