Tuesday, 1 April 2014

PANTSTER OR PLANNER



Today I'd like to share my take on a topic I've seen crop up from time to time on different blogs: pantster or planner?

The definition of pantsing is flying by the seat of your pants, i.e. without a plan, winging it. But, and here I’m sticking my head above the parapet - straight after which I'm flinging myself flat on the ground - and wondering why this phrase is used by writers? (Here writers means novelists, or aspiring novelists.)

What is called pantsing is writing without a formal plan– it’s not writing without any plan. Most pantsters have some notion of where they’re going to start, even if they haven’t planned the entire journey and don’t yet know the destination. They plan as they go, taking up and running with ideas as they arise. 

Writing without a plan is freewriting. And James Joyce’s Ullyses may be written in a stream of consciousness style, giving the impression of spontaneity, but Joyce gave every word he wrote intense consideration.  

Pantsters feel they have the choice to change direction, go where inspiration takes them - at any time.  Doesn’t every writer? Sometimes planning is a way in to the story, and just because you have a written plan, nothing, other than your own reluctance, prevents even the most meticulous of planners with charts, backstories, and detailed scene outlines changing direction. 

My argument is with the terminology. Pantsing implies a closer link to originality and creativity. Planning is a more staid, thoughtful, less inspired word. It is possible there isn’t a great deal of difference - the question is simply one of instant planning, or planning further ahead, and that it's not a choice between the scenic route or the motorway. But somehow I have the feeling that 'informal/instant planner' will never be taken up - it simply doesn’t have that same stylish ring as pantster. 

Writing Update
This week I’ve managed, at last, to put my WIP on the back burner, as it has simply refused to go to sleep, despite efforts to lull it into complaisance by freewriting and working on haikus. 

And with the aim of keeping my writing self as occupied as possible,  I’ve dug out my nano effort from 2012 - genre: soft sci-fi – adventure/romance. Reading a rough draft I wrote over a year ago is a strange experience. It’s like looking at a black and white photo from a long time ago; the memory of the event is fuzzy and details return but slowly. At present, I’m putting chapter one through the pro writing edit mill, with the idea of posting one chapter per month on Wattpad.

Also dusted off, edited, and with a large amount of trepidation, going up on Wattpad later this week are two shorter pieces of writing; one a crime caper short story, and the other a sci-fi flash fiction.

As you see, I’m busy exercising my writing muscle, and the rest of that stuff on the to do list while the WIP rests...well, it'll have to wait!

Today’s haiku 
COUPLE IN THE COFFEE SHOP
they’re tired, jaded,
dulled eyes, mouths turned down, sour smiles –
what murdered their love?

Useful links: 
I posted this the other day, so in case you didn't catch it - it's worth a read. http://theamericanscholar.org/ten-best-sentences/#.UzpmSVfaIkR 
And 40 book promoting sites for the indie author: 
http://bit.ly/12QtGyT 


I'm admitting failure in the 100 Happy Days photo challenge. After the laptop debacle last week, Twitter kept timing out when I uploaded my pics. I couldn’t always come back later to try again, so after almost 40 days of posting happy pics I’ve joined the 70% who drop out. But on the positive side, I did enjoy the challenge.

Join me on Twitter (and check out the happy pics I did post) at: teagankearney@modhaiku


Thanks for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.










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Apart from writing, I'm compiling a bucket list of places I'd like to  visit...from Iceland to Hawaii and onwards....
         

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