Tuesday, March 11, 2008

To seat of the pants, or not to seat of the pants, that is the question....

Only another writer would have a CLUE what my title is referring to! =P

I used to think of myself as a seat-of-the-pants writer. Then I kinda merged into the world of pre-plotting. I wrote my books a lot faster that way and it seemed to work for my Type A personality. Then somehow, I started merging back into the seat-of-the-pants way.

I think what happened was my fear of research. It was easier and much more fun to just start writing my new WIP rather than figure out of the mundane details such as geography, landmarks, weather, flight arrivals, time changes, etc. (my new WIP involves traveling, can you tell?) =)

But I think its time to bite the bullet, as one horrid cliche goes. Time to get serious if I'm going to flesh this story out the way it deserves and give it a fair chance.

What about you, writers? Which method of plotting or pre plotting or no plotting works best for you? Why? Any tips to share? Comment, please!

Sigh. Time to fire up Google...(what did writers do before the internet??? LOL)


Georgiana said...

I started out by pantsing too, but found that I enjoy knowing where I'm going. Let's hear it for Type A's!!!

Timothy Fish said...

I have done every novel so far differently. I started Searching for Mom, got about 20,000 works into it with out an outline, then outlined the rest. I did the outline first for How to Become a Bible Character. For my current work in progress (WIP), I did a similar outline, but I changed my method of outlining mid-stream and created an improved outline.

I find that outlining at a high level with a rough idea of what the scenes might be works best for me. For my current WIP, I knew that, at about 54,500 words in, the main character's wife would disappear and someone would die. What I didn't know until I started writing was that a shadowy figure called The Raven would be responsible for that disappearance as well as the death of the wife's father. The outline told me that the main character would need a lot of money to get her back. What it didn't tell me was the he would be broke and in debt up to his eye balls when we reach that point in the story.

An outline is a fluid thing. It is like a river bank, telling the the story where to flow, but the story, like a river can cut new channels along the way. I think it is best to use an outline to record what we know about the story, but we will discover new things and the outline will begin to fill out and change.

Erica Vetsch said...

I think I'm somewhere inbetween...sometimes plotting, sometimes pantsing...what I really want to know is, can I call it plotting if I do it retroactively? LOL

Rachel said...

I'm a pantster. But I cannot work from an outline of any sort, they seem to pull the plug on my creativity.

I do go into the story with a good basic synopsis and a general idea of what happens when. But as far as the details go and the scene particulars I'm always pleasantly surprised at what happens.

So far, only 2-3 ideas require heavy duty basic research before I can begin writing. With The Epic, I'm researching as I go and actually figuring out what it is I need. But that's ok with me because I'm always looking for an excuse to expand my library of Russian non-fiction.

Katie said...

I have to work from an outline. I like getting the "bones" of the work out of the way so that I don't lay in bed all night long and wonder...what will happen next? I know me. I'd drive myself insane.