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Pantsing : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Pantsing

What's going on in your writing world? Connect with the writing community here and talk about whatever's on your mind.
Alice Clay
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Pantsing

Postby Alice Clay » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:07 pm

And i just learned more from williamadams in 20 minutes than all the years I read useless books like "How to Write a Blockbuster". Pantsing. And I thought all I had to do was plant my arse to the chair and words would flow like pearls onto the page. And I couldn't figure out why that didn't happen. My arse was where it was supposed to be. I don't think I can articulate it but I just learned something really important. I would be interested in reactions to that famous old quote by Red Smith that WD made into a pretty good book:"All you do is just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

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Re: Pantsing

Postby williamadams » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:08 pm

thanks

orsatella will disagree
actually it is ostarella
i spoonerise a lot
but that doesnt bither me a bot

i wrote for biz for several year as my main job
most of my other biz jobs required some writing

on the side, i was published in national papers and mags from washpost to WD and a lot of smaller more technical publications

i was involved with a small publishing company for 45+ years on the side too
i helped some friends get their books published

i have known people that tried to write
i was at the uni for ten years writing and seeing other students write
and taught there for a few years after i stopped being a student and saw how the new students write
and saw people write in biz for many more years

high school did not teach me how to write
it taught bad things i had to unlearn

the uni did not teach how to write
they made us write and told us what was wrong
sorry but the socratic method is a fail for me
and it is always slow and inefficient

i was forced to figure out how to write when i HAD to write for an early job
i tried a number of approaches but finally realised that organising and planning first
was the only way to meet deadline with a decent paper that management would accept
and it worked

i had tried to pants a novel when i was a junior
TOTAL FAIL
i had no idea how to write a novel
if i had just kept typing i would have come up with reams of drivel not anything worth reading
i defy anyone to write a novel without a little bit of organising having been done in their head as a guide

after writing a lot of non fiction i started researching how to write a novel too as well as tech papers and other genre
every book out there that teaches how to write a novel uses some sort of organising
they have other tips and tricks plus some theory guidelines but they all have organising and planning as key

i have not found one book that tells you how to pants a novel
all the advocates can say is nike!
just do it
sit own and keep writing until you end up with a novel
which may be a long long time
considering how many mss end up in desk drawers unfinished

if somehow somebody pantsed a novel it would end up being organised and flow logically or it would not be a good one. so what pantsers are arguing about is how and when to organise.
i still say that it is easier to shuffle 3x5 cards on a table top to make the sequence logical and to spot holes that need filling and that takes as much creativity as just writing some stream of consciousness stuff
and it is a lot easier than writing tonnes of verbiage and trying to cut and paste it to fit

i admit, although orsatella keeps denying that fact, that there are a few , very few, people who can pantsit successfully. stephen king and one other i found. maybe some noname authors too.
but there are hundreds of top novelists who plan and plot in detail

and tens of thousands of pros who write daily to make a living
and have to hit page count by deadline and match previous episodes
who all plan in detail

if you are doing a seinfeld or modern family you can create a template for the weekly show
and only spend some effort putting in a long arc for some sideline stories or situations once taht is planned
but a new mystery or detective story will need more work although castle almost seemed to have a template they filled in

clearly the size of the project dictates how much planning and organising you have to do
for 1500 word oped i just write. yes shocking admission. but planning has to be in scale with the final result.
for a longer piece i would do a moderate amount of planning
but for a full length book the planning would be in detail
and for a fiction novel it would be even more than for a non fiction book where all i have to do is describe what exists not invent it first

the other key is to learn to touch type
when i am in the zone words flow from brain to screen at 100+ wpm
try writing that fast with a pencil
and editing and revision is much faster on a pc


now one thing that was implicit was that you have to have something to say
for NF i research.
for fiction you have to create the characters setting and the plot

i suspect the pantsers are trying to invent what the story is when they just sit down and write
if they get something that looks good they will try to make it fit in the final

again i contend it is easier to use one of the many novel templates and fill in those details with 3x5 cards
than it is to write reams of verbiage that you endless revise rewrite shuffle discard and write yet more to get the ingredients that are needed

so any pantsers who reply
please give us a detailed description of how you make pantsing work at all

williamadams
 

Re: Pantsing

Postby williamadams » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:09 pm


Lbeauchesne
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Re: Pantsing

Postby Lbeauchesne » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:41 pm

I could write an essay on how I write. But since some people refuse to believe I can write in any style that isn't what works for them, and would prefer to rubbish all my achievements and say that I would have done better than I have (which is nigh impossible) if I had followed their route...
Long story short, it's gone 4 in the morning for me and I'm working on an idea given to me from an earlier conversation with my OH about milk.
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williamadams
 

Re: Pantsing

Postby williamadams » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:40 pm


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Re: Pantsing

Postby ostarella » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:01 pm

Actually William, if you paid more attention to the forum posts, you would see in many places over the years where pantsers have explained how they do it. In detail.

To Alice: Some writers can write without planning anything out; some writers have to plan in detail. Most writers are somewhere on the spectrum between the two. There are very few writers who will state, unequivocally, that there is only one way to write. Part of being a writer is finding out what method or variation of method works best for YOU. You may even find that you need to vary that method for a particular book. You'll find the same sort of discussions when talking about edit-as-you-go versus get-it-all-on-paper-first. Or when talking about whether one has one draft or many.

In other words, you will find as many different ways of writing as you find writers. The only one that matters is the one that works for you.
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Lbeauchesne
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Re: Pantsing

Postby Lbeauchesne » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:36 pm

Formerly known as MsMotty/Linzi82

Our goal in life is to overcome obstacles placed in our way without destroying them so that others may also share in our triumphs.

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Re: Pantsing

Postby ostarella » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:44 am

[quote="williamadams"]they can only be creative when they are spewing forth stream of consciousness blather[/quote]

Just a note: There is a difference between pantsing and stream of consciousness. You might want to look that up. (And I've seen plenty of blather from outliners, too. Just sayin'...)
Last edited by ostarella on Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pantsing

Postby williamadams » Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:30 am


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Re: Pantsing

Postby ostarella » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:04 am

Do a search for pantsing on the forums. There are numerous discussions.
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