Friday, May 10, 2013

Pantsers, plotters, and a trip to Liverpool

Until today, I didn’t realize there were actual terms for people who plot and outline their novels before they write them, versus those who dive straight in and let the book tell itself. I’m sort of in the middle of the road on this one. I put together ideas for scenes and how things will link together but I’ve never plotted out a whole story on paper before writing it. (During and after, yes.)

I started reading books about plotting novels because I have two half projects that are waiting to have a crescendo and a resolution. So I need to get some ideas on how to start making a good outline (not just a bunch of notes in bullets or Roman numerals) to get at least the current project’s first draft finished.

My question is, do you plot or fly by the seat of your pants? What do you think about either method?

I know King said he doesn’t plot, but he had The Shining solid in his mind before he started to write it. I’ve read books about formatting novels that were so dry and formulaic that there was no sense of artistic creativity at all. But a couple of books that I read the free samples of both were saying that plotting helps you be more productive (Lord knows I need help with that.) It can save you a ton of messy editing (I hate editing) as well. If you have the plot ready, scene by scene, then you know what to write. I’ve also been trying the method from 2K to 10K that suggests at least writing notes about what you should write for the day before actually going back to the novel. That helps.

Here are some books and articles that I’ve found on the subject so far:

PD James said, “Don't just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.” I agree that just thinking about writing doesn’t do the job, but isn’t planning worth something?

I also found this quote from Ten rules of writing fiction article too:

Only bad writers think that their work is really good. ~ Anne Enright

And our trip to Liverpool was great. We visited more of the Pick family, saw the beach, saw the Irish Sea, saw Wales (in the distance), and the wonderful City of Liverpool itself. The ride on the train was fine but, as usual, stupid people ruin the whole experience. (Why are people so loud and obnoxious on those things? Do they just not care?) Anyway, each day was sunny, warm, and perfect for a holiday. I’ve added my photoset here:

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