Jump to content

Four Types of Novel Writers


Recommended Posts

I know I have put this up before, but with all the new members, it seemed like a great time to do it again. 

 

 

 

For me: I am an intuitive pantser. (😄 autocorrect says intuitive painter) She is right; it comes with some downsides. Currently, I'm editing, and I got some great feedback. Now I'm left trying to figure out the best way to add in a little bit without disrupting the flow of the story. Everyone keeps saying to look for xy and z part of the story, and it will slip right in. 😳😬 I don't get the whole story arcs, scene structure thing, no matter how many times it is explained. Everyone keeps telling me like I will magically get it. I don't! And you know what, I'm ok with that. I know my stories are good, and the feedback (from professionals) is positive in these areas. 

 

I also understand the hate for outlining. If I outline, I feel like the story is already told and has an ending. Why do I want to rewrite a finished story? I don't mean edit my story; I mean write the first draft of an already finished story. Cleaning the toilet bowl with a toothbrush sounds like more fun. 

 

Now, of course, that is a personal feeling. It is great if you can do that! I just hope that people can better understand not all our brains work the same and that it's ok to do what works for you. Just don't forget to give the other side a try too. You never know what you learn, and if it doesn't work, that's ok too. I sure know I have always grown as a writer, whether it was right for me or not. At the end of the day, we all hone our craft and never really stop. 🙂 You can't tell I enjoy learning, can you? 😄 

Edited by Alley
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not on board with this lady's theory. At all. I don't agree that there's such a huge dichotomy in going with your gut vs. going with your head. It's not an either/or thing. I'm intuitive and methodological, to equal and high degrees. That means I get very excited when I learn a label or a technical term describe something I already feel in my gut.

 

It's a powerful thing to gain understanding about things you sense but couldn't describe before. I remember very clearly as a young teen knowing that in every movie and book I liked, things first got terrible before there was a big turnaround and the heroes won. Then I studied story structure and learned that point in a story is called the "dark night of the soul." It was an aha moment because my head finally had a name for what I felt in my gut. My intuition tells me which method in my writer's toolbox will work best. I don't think writers fit so neatly into those boxes.

 

The lady also makes a huge assumption that "most writers" want to be intuitive pantsers. Really? I have no desire to write a book by the seat of my pants, and I've never thought of myself as a lesser writer because I make detailed plots. Nor do I think there's anything particularly wonderful or romantic about pantsing. Brandon Sanderson writes detailed plots. Stephen King and Dean Wesley Smith have been very vocal advocates of pantsing. Yet all are equally "real" writers. All express their creativity and intuition in wonderful ways.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I started out when I returned to writing - mainly pantsting and gradually learn the value of plotting.

 

Nowadays I ten to plan out the work and then write. Sometimes I will write odd scenes that come to me while I am doing this and then slot them in where they are suppose to fit.  The important thing is not the wielded to the plot outline and be prepare to jettision or detour.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, carolinamtne said:

And the point is simply that we are all different and have different means of achieving what we want to do--write a story that will touch lives.

Amen, @carolinamtne. Thinking a bit more, I think I got salty because the lady believes "most writers wish they were intuitive pantsers." Whether or not she knew it, she inserted a value judgement right there and it coloured my perception of everything else she said.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, EBraten said:

Thinking a bit more, I think I got salty because the lady believes "most writers wish they were intuitive pantsers." Whether or not she knew it, she inserted a value judgement right there and it coloured my perception of everything else she said.

 

I agree, @EBraten.  There was no call for that, but there is a grain of truth in it, nonetheless.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, EBraten said:

Thinking a bit more, I think I got salty because the lady believes "most writers wish they were intuitive pantsers." Whether or not she knew it, she inserted a value judgement right there and it coloured my perception of everything else she said

Check out the self-aware person! 🙂 Yeah, I was a little surprised by the force of your reaction since it seems out of character for you, but this does explain it. 

 

I think it is because she is a bit younger, and most young people are thought to follow their hearts, and that if you are good at something it is because you have a natural talent. Learning technic is (or at least was when I was in school) frowned upon as it proved you didn't have real talent.

 

I have to admit that I have advised many new writers that they needed to try plotting. It's something they just believed was something they didn't need, or it never dawned on them they could use it and still be a writer. 

 

The point is to tell a story in whatever way works best for you. Not add more things that divide us. We have enough of that in the world. We should all be encouraging everyone and not bickering about how we get there. Yes, I've been a little frustrated with people telling me I'm doing it wrong because I didn't do it their way lately. Please don't take this personally. I sure don't mean it like that! You guys have been amazing and supportive. 😊 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up as a Pantser but after studying up on the Story Grid content, I now consider myself a Plantser. When writing a new chapter, I figure out my Global value shift, nail down the Five Commandments, and throw in a couple of Progressive Complications. I used to write a new chapter every month. I've been writing a new, polished chapter every week for the past sixteen weeks.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Johne said:

I've been writing a new, polished chapter every week for the past sixteen weeks

I have seen a difference in how enthusiastic you are in sharing all you learned. 🙂 I'm so glad it helped you! 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I am methodological in relation to world building and intuitive in relation to character creation.

I've never felt like I fit neatly into either the "pantser" or "planner" categories. I create timelines leading up to, coinciding with, and going beyond the events of my story which sounds like outlining except that the timeline is "world" centric rather than "story" centric. 

The world events will have relevance to and sometimes overlap with the story but they are not the story themselves. The story gets made up as it is written while I have the timeline in the back of my mind for context of what is happening concurrently. 

It would be analagous to writing a romance set against a historical backdrop. The story must take world events into consideration but the world events are not themselves the story. 

Meanwhile I populate my story with characters generated intuitively whose growth and interaction are the real substance of the story focused upon.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great post with lots of fabulous insight.  I am still trying to figure out my methodology for writing.  I've never been very good at outlining, mainly because I'm too wordy to begin with and trying to shorten my thoughts to an outline (in high school) was hard to do. I also struggle with research only in the sense that I never know when enough is enough.

 

I remember doing a research paper in college on sweatshops. I had binders full of research and my professor was gracious enough to let me expand the required 10-15 page paper to 20-25 pages. She did this after lovingly telling me it was time to stop researching and start writing.

 

I too love learning new things and am enjoying the process of writing my first full length novel.  I've learned so many wonderful things in the last two years, including from you all on this site. One of my main takeaways in all of this has been: it doesn't matter if I consider myself a plotter, a panster or somewhere in between as I'm writing my WIP, what matters is am I writing (or have I written) a book that will touch/move my target audience and did I learn anything new during the process of writing it.  If so, then it's a win win, regardless of the road that got me there.

 

I've also learned that the "method" might even change from project to project as we learn, grow and hone our craft.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, William D'Andrea said:

  Just curious.  What does the term "pantser" mean?

 

Pantser is shorthand for 'seat-of-the-pants' writer, or a Discovery writer. A Pantser typically is less interested in outlines and story structure, and more interested in just sitting down and writing.
https://faq.brandonsanderson.com/knowledge-base/are-you-an-outliner-or-a-discovery-writer/

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.