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Nicholas Reicher

Planning vs Pants'ing

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Unpopular Truth #5: Any particular group of people in any particular subject matter comes in one of three varieties.

Group 1 -- As far to one end as possible.

Group 2 -- As far to the opposite end as possible.

Group 3 -- Somewhere between Group 1 and Group 2.

 

All three groups always think their way is the best way. There are more in Group 3 than Group 1 and Group 2. This is true for plotting, pantsing, or plantsing. Eventually, we'll figure out which group we're in by figuring out what works for us, and then figuring out the easiest way to get what we want to get. It doesn't matter, just as long as it works for us.

 

Unpopular truth #6: The best jalapeno is the one that never makes contact with the body. They're just a way of choosing to burn yourself for no particularly good reason. :P

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15 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

All three groups always think their way is the best way. There are more in Group 3 than Group 1 and Group 2. This is true for plotting, pantsing, or plantsing. Eventually, we'll figure out which group we're in by figuring out what works for us, and then figuring out the easiest way to get what we want to get. It doesn't matter, just as long as it works for us.

This is what I started out by saying. The problem is, most writers believe they are pant'sers when they are planners and it's NOT working for them. I'm trying to wake people up and get them to re-examine this.

 

Many people don't finish NaNoWriMo for this one reason - this reason and this alone. I stand by my words firmly - if you were a pants'er, you'd have finished six novels by now just pants'ing. It works for you in that case.

 

Many people think they are pants'ers, and have never finished a novel. Obviously it's not working.

 

I did a poll at a writer's convention last year - of ALL the writers I interviewed, all said they were pants'ers except one. 

The one had six novels for sale.

All of the pans'ers had one novel for sale except one - she had twelve.

Twelve novels. It took her an average of 25 days a novel.

 

Of those who wrote the one novel by pants'ing, the average length of composition was six years.

 

Bottom line conclusion - very few people truly are pants'ers. I'd do the whole mathematics thing and give percentages, but the pool of authors was not large enough to give a statistical analysis.

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22 hours ago, PenName said:

the only thing that works for me is plantsing. 

WEll, yah... if it works, and you've written a number of books, then it works and don't mess with it!

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I'm the freaky one. I hope no one is ever as stupid as I am. I don't have a plot written down for my seven-book series. I have it in my brain. I'd write it down if I had a clue how to, but the best I could pull off was a synopsis for the whole story.

 

Little plops of story line come, (and often go), from my brain at any given moment. Like, right now I'm struggling through Chapter 5 of Book 2, but I'm stuck on something that will happen at the climax of this book. In the last week, parts of Book 3, 4, and 6 have occupied my mind. Little scenes in a much bigger story.

 

I'd be on Book 4 by now, if I didn't keep doing this, but can't figure out how not to do this. I keep hoping I can figure out how. So far, I've followed a quicky outline from a writer friend for this novel, but it didn't help. I already knew those things before I started. It's going from "Stuffies meet with Senator" to what that scene is exactly, I can't do until I get there.

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1 hour ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

Many people think they are pants'ers, and have never finished a novel. Obviously it's not working.

 

I did a poll at a writer's convention last year - of ALL the writers I interviewed, all said they were pants'ers except one. 

The one had six novels for sale.

All of the pans'ers had one novel for sale except one - she had twelve.

Twelve novels. It took her an average of 25 days a novel.

 

Of those who wrote the one novel by pants'ing, the average length of composition was six years.

Wow, Nicholas. It really is a problem!

 

On 10/18/2019 at 5:14 PM, Nicholas Reicher said:

My next topic is going to be the "only one draft" myth

Sounds like a plan! 😉

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54 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

I hope no one is ever as stupid as I am. I don't have a plot written down for my seven-book series. I have it in my brain. I'd write it down if I had a clue how to, but the best I could pull off was a synopsis for the whole story.

Don't worry, Spaulding. The trilogy I just finished was never plotted or planned, was written out of order, and I never thought of doing a synopsis! o_O  Maybe it's not the best method, but I'm learning. . .

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I know what you mean. WRiting blind can be scary.

 

Sometimes I have a scene(s) in my head that I just have to get down on paper otherwise I have trouble concentrating on other things. This is often the start/end scenes of a piece of work.  I may go back to them and see if I can work out the middle bit. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Depending on whether I can they might develop into a story or novel.  Other times I might have an idea and jot it down. Aagin it might develop into something or not.

 

I suppose it comes down to what works for you. Some people won't write a sentence unless they have planned every single scene others just go for it. I think I am somewhere in the middle.

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If it works for you, it works.

 

I'm pointing out the  issue that for the vast majority of writers - pants'ing doesn't work. They're not pans'ers. They're planners, but stubbornly think they're pants'ers.

Here's an example to see what your work output can be if you have a system that works...

 

I wrote four and a half novels (Blazing Glory, Providence, Bottom of the Ocean, Rise of the Romli, Countdown: Hail fire and Blood) and a ten hour miniseries, got started on three other novels (Godzilla, Superstar, Black Dragon Society, untitled Ninja book), and substantial work on two movie scripts (Apostle John, Gamera IV). I also edited all of my novels, including my behemoth first novel (Countdown to Armageddon: The missing) - from April 2017 to December 1st last year.

 

My first novel - at 198,000 words - was completed in 30 days at 98,000 words, then doubled in the next 30 days. Alas, I should have left well enough alone! Hard to edit that novel!

 

My system works for me.

 

If your system works for you, the completed first draft of your novel should be completed in 45 to 60 day - three months at the MOST.

 

If it doesn't work, then completing your first novel will take more than six months.

 

Wow, that almost sounds like a pitch for one of those $1,000 a year writing schools!

 

I may try one of those video conferencing system and run down for everyone how to write a book in 45 days... It's got to be free.

 

How long does it take you to complete a novel? 45 days, or longer than six months?

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Synopsis are highly overrated. Most authors - from what I've read - write a synopsis after they finish the novel, and only because the agent and the publisher think they're important.

 

I write a logline instead - y'know, one of those things you read on the back of a DVD that tells you what the DVD is about. "(person) is (situation) and must (plot outcome) or (consequence), so (ending of novel)."

 

Like, "Spaulding the bear has to find the stuffie killer who hides in the night before all the bears are killed. With the help of his friend he tracks the killer to his doghouse and traps him with fire."

 

Less work, easier. Most people mentally write loglines instead of physically.

 

"What's your novel about?"

 

"It's about (logline)".

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The take-away lesson from this thread - and thanks to all who've participated and haven't gotten frustrated with me is - if your system works, it works. Most people's system doesn't work. Find one that works. If pants'ing doesn't work for you, it doesn't work at all - become a planner.

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On 10/17/2019 at 6:19 PM, suspensewriter said:

You know, I don't have time to plot out a novel or to pantser one, I just sit down and write them.  It's the honest truth, that they come to me as I go along.

Same thing with myself.  I just sit and write. the editing is rough, especially since it takes so many tries and several sets of eyes, and I still find mistakes in my books after publishing.  That is frustrating.

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