Sunday, November 12, 2006

Plotters vs. Pantsers

May I say that the writing conference was TOTALLY awesome? Ohmigosh, I had the absolute best time. I got to meet the funny and very knowledgeable Kalen Hughes (Love her, and I can't wait until her book comes out, titled Lord Sin. I'm drooling already.)

Cherry Adair gave a fabulous presentation on plotting, include all the elements of a novel. She's a plotter, and a she's got a great system of colors and post it notes to make sure that nothing is left out.

That's so much fun!

Unfortunately, I can't do it. I'm not going to go deep into the plotter vs. pantser discussion, but I just want to bring up one point that no one mentions.

When you pants it, you have to know, understand, and have practiced writing in all the required elements SO much, that including the elements is effortless and subconscious.

That's how pantsing works well.

I have to pants. So if I notice a flaw, then when I pull out my next short story, I have to think about including it. I work on that area for a few short stories or chapters, and then I realize other elements that need my attention. Because when you're pantsing, you can't hold all of the 22 elements in your head. They need to be effortless.

And that takes TONS of practice. I've sold twenty or thirty short stories and about fifteen novellas. I counted up about 400,000 or 500,000 words. I've still got a lot of words to write before it all starts clicking and coming together well, on its own.

That's where plotters have an edge. They need less practice; but it takes revision and work to make it flow later. Pantsers get the flow, but we miss the elements.

That's where revision comes in. Someday I'm going to learn that, too. :-)

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