Bubble Witch Saga 3 Industrial Deals Best Books of the Month Shop new men's suiting nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch Alexa on Mobile Get 10% cashback on thousands of musical instruments with your Amazon.com Store Credit Card Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Tote Bags Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon Spider-Man: Homecoming available to buy Spider-Man: Homecoming available to buy Spider-Man: Homecoming available to buy  Introducing Echo Show Introducing All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 Kindle Oasis, unlike any Kindle you've ever held AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Shop Now PSFF17_gno
Customer Discussions > Fiction forum

why do so many people think they can write without organising and planning first ?


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-25 of 455 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 1, 2012, 9:34:38 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 11:07:20 AM PDT
Some people are "plotters" and some people are "pantsers" (i.e. seat-of-the-pants writers). Some people mix the two. They're all valid approaches to writing. Writing is a creative process, and writers should do what is necessary to encourage the creativity during the rough draft.

Randy Ingermanson is a strict plotter He analyzes to a scene level before writing, then edits to paragraph level afterward. If you get the Kindle version of the book I linked, he even provides a breakdown of his process applied to the first chapter.

Dean Wesley Smith is 100% pantser. He sits down and writes the first draft, letting it take him where it will. Then he puts it away for a couple weeks and comes back to it with fresh eyes. He discusses his process on his blog.

Orson Scott Card is somewhere in the middle. He writes a bit until he knows where he's going and then plots out the book, but he leaves it open to changes in direction as he writes. He discusses his process in the linked book.

I recommend Writing Fiction For Dummies for an excellent discussion of the variations possible in the process.

Posted on May 1, 2012, 1:26:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012, 1:27:02 PM PDT
Diana Wilder says:
Interesting issues raised.

Unfortunately, I'm so convulsed with silly amusement by the mental picture of all the fabulous authors I've read - including King, MacLean, Chaucer, Woolf, Priestley, Tolkien, Zelazny - and so on - sitting in a row with a sign above them saying 'noobs and wannabees yet unpublished' I can hardly type.

Posted on May 1, 2012, 5:23:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012, 5:31:26 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
Whomper, you pose a very sophisticated and challenging question. Angela has already got us started toward understanding why it is so challenging and so unlikely to be resolved by a simple answer. I'll resort to techniques that I used in a previous lifetime as a science and engineering student; this is called "Variables Analysis".

Step 1 -- Isolate The Problem (Or Question) -- "Why do so many people think they can write without organising and planning first ?

Step 2 -- Isolate Level 1 Variables --
1. WRITING
2. WRITERS

Step 3 -- Add Level 2 Variables
1. WRITING
A. MOTIVATION
B. TIMELINE

2. WRITERS
A. STRICT PLANNER
B. STRICT CREATOR
C. STRICT FORMULIST
D. FLEXIBLE FORMULIST
E. FLEXIBLE NON-FORMULIST

Step 4 -- Add Level 3 Variables
1. WRITING
A. MOTIVATION
a. Make a living
b. Make a profit
c. Promote a cause
d. Recreation

B. TIMELINE
a. Short Deadline
b. Long Deadline
c. No deadline

etc, etc, etc

Step 5 -- Review and edit present list of variables. Add more variables as needed, add more levels as needed.

I'm looking at the variables I've identified so far and I'm seeing a significant number of people who seem to have the freedom to be STRICT CREATIONISTS or FLEXIBLE and not worry about initial planning and organizing, i.e. they don't have to plan and organize until they have created some stuff to organize since their motivation is low-key and their timeline is long-term. I'm kind of like that; I never have a short deadline and I don't have to make a living with my writing, so I can be pretty flexible if I want. However, my personality is "planner" or as Angela called it "plotter", so i hate to be very long without a storyboard; but I'm flexible enough so that my storyboard can grow and shrink and change as the project develops.

However (and I'm aware I'm repeating myself), I don't worry about being too organized until I have created some stuff to organize.

Is anyone interested in working more on the Variables Analysis for whomper's question, or is this approach too technical and boring ???

Posted on May 1, 2012, 5:27:58 PM PDT
oldog - interesting approach

I'm not a fiction writer, but when it comes to grad school work, I am a pantser for lack of a better word...I need deadlines to get me motivated to write and do much better under pressure than i do with lots of time. I might make an outline, but i don't write in any specific order and jump around quite a bit

Posted on May 1, 2012, 5:43:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012, 7:37:54 PM PDT
MelindaC says:
I think a lot of new writers simply don't realize how difficult writing really is. I can't count the number of people I've had tell me they're writing a book, only to quit before reaching 10,000 words. Ideas are easy; organization isn't.

Edited to add: I'm speaking as one who writes both academically and for pleasure, and also as one who used to not understand how difficult the process can be (and is still sometimes terribly frustrated by it).

Posted on May 1, 2012, 5:47:16 PM PDT
after doing NaNoWriMo one year - I have a new appreciation for authors...getting that 50K words in a month was hard!

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 6:22:09 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
@Deanna --

I agree, college and university writing forces you to be a pantser, as does a lot of technical writing. Deadlines are not conducive to quality expression. I would not put myself in a deadline position again for a bazillion bucks. It wasn't until I put my career in the glass trophy case that I was able to engage in creative expression, because I had the freedom to be able to let it flow unbidden.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 6:36:18 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
@MelindaC --

Agreed, very difficult. Also, it requires skills and aptitude. It amazes me how many people think that they can be writers because they want to. Could I go play basketball in front of an audience if I wanted to? Figure skating? Diving? Skateboarding? If they don't have the skills and the aptitude, they are not going to be writers.

Posted on May 1, 2012, 6:36:58 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
@whomper --

U R very quiet -- thinking ???

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 6:52:54 PM PDT
Who is this diatribe of a thread directed at, specifically? Careless writers everywhere? The indy authors here on Amazon (some who spam like the dickens)?

We need to clarify that there is probably a decent chance of two different type of writers creating a good product: the one who hones her/his craft painstakingly over long periods, and the one who merely sits down at the keyboard and just whips up an appealing story because the muse struck.
.
.
.

Re: "What makes you think you can sit down and start writing and end up with anything worth having. Assuming you finish the thing at all."

What makes you think you're an authority on the subject, and that you can address a lot of people in such a sour manner?

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 7:17:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012, 7:28:43 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
@Baron --

Whomper's social skills in the threads were atrocious, but he has made a lot of progress. No recent insulting or destructive interruptions. This is Whomper's first attempt to communicate with us using more than a handful of words at a time, and I would consider it a gracious personal favor to me if you were to cut him some slack until we see where else he might be headed with his thoughts. Godspeed, sir.

Posted on May 1, 2012, 7:29:01 PM PDT
MelindaC says:
I agree, Baron, that there is a decent chance (better than decent, no doubt) that two different writers with very different approaches can create an appealing story. Like Angela Perry said, some are "pantsers" and some are "plotters." Neither way is wrong, and there are many famous and successful authors who place themselves into one category or another. There are undoubtedly many not-yet-famous-and-successful authors who do, too. Ebooks and self-publishing open exciting new avenues for undiscovered writers to get discovered.

My guess is that even the "pantsers" have their own unique system of organization. I took the OP's question to mean those who seemingly write without a clear idea of where they're taking the reader or what they wish to accomplish in the end (storywise). It's an interesting discussion, one that has come up often over the couple of years I've visited the fora.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 7:46:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012, 7:46:52 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
@Melinda et al --

One change I noticed in my writing: When I was doing technical writing, the Conclusion was always the first thing written. Then everything else worked its way toward that goal. "This is what I want to leave them with, now I must compose a way to get them there."

With historical fiction, I find that my story usually starts with some episodes in the midst of things, and the introduction and conclusion usually assert themselves on two marvelous days somewhere along the way. I approach a novel as a collection of contiguous short stories, so I am a formulaic writer to the extent that my final work is composed of building blocks which may or may not be totally seamless.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 7:53:33 PM PDT
reply to Deanna L. Fisher's post:

an outline is a good start
but real pantsers dont do that
they just start writing

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 7:54:56 PM PDT
Oldog_Oltrix says:
@whomper --

Are you a real pantser?

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:03:20 PM PDT
MelindaC says:
>>>One change I noticed in my writing: When I was doing technical writing, the Conclusion was always the first thing written. Then everything else worked its way toward that goal. "This is what I want to leave them with, now I must compose a way to get them there."<<<

That makes a lot of sense. Grant writing is very similar. You're writing with a definite conclusion in mind (receiving the grant!), so the entire proposal has to work towards that conclusion.

It's interesting, the different writing styles needed for different pursuits. I just finished my dissertation, where the emphasis was very much on the process - the conclusion was based on the process, and I actually had to outline the ways in which I wouldn't allow my predisposed notions of the conclusion to cloud the process.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:08:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012, 8:23:07 PM PDT
reply to MelindaC's post:

writing is hard work for sure
so why make it harder

there are very very few people with the skill to just write
or as another poster called them pantsers
I have to think that they have a rough outline in their head before they start and dont just wing it from end to end

schools dont teach HOW to write
they teach details like grammar and spelling
or useless things like parts of speech
and "literature" whatever that is

my uncle gave me a book when i got out of HS
he was a writer
i recall the book was on writing and the key was organisation
tossed it and forgot about it

fast forward past ten years of college and ten or so of working
still could not write worth diddly
at least not more than a short memo

EPIPHANY !!!!

The ***key*** is organisation

dont confuse tht with harvard style outlines they taught in HS
those are illogical and do not work

The ***key*** is organisation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clustering works best for me. Not sure any other method is worth trying.

That said, with that approach I was a member of NWU. Taught grad students a method to write their MS papers. Published (and paid) in several national publications including writers digest and washpost etc.

Now if you want to just write then go for it. You will (unless you are the next stephen king) going to waste a lot of time and will rarely finish anything especially if it is long form like a book.

Those people rarely want to find a better method and are quite content to spin their wheels just writing.

I guarantee that if you are writing a TV show there will be planning ahead of time. Lots of it. Else you wont meet deadline and your murder mystery is as likely to be a comedy.

random thoughts

you need to know who/why you are writing for and when it is due
that will constrain much of what you do - length, difficulty level, ...

gather information
organise it - that is key - use clustering and make piles that relate
prioritise and sequence it -
make a rough outline following the sequence

its not what you put in its what you leave out !

write !
just write from start to finish.
NO EDITING . none at all. not now
create a mostly complete draft

Now there are several levels of editing and rewriting that will happen.
do not jump to the details like spelling and grammar yet.

get a final draft done that is complete
then start the several editing steps from large down to detailed

finish!

now it is true that length plays a big part of how much of the process you need. i can write an oped (700-1500 words) withotu anything more than an idea and a couple of facts. a short booklet would take more work and definitely a high level outline. a long book , tv/movie script, or similar would call for detailed planning first.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:11:24 PM PDT
reply to Deanna L. Fisher's post:

thats only 2000 words a day
8 typed pages

less than an hour of typing
30 minutes for an average typist
20 for a competent one

now researching that much non fiction takes a lot of time!
fiction only takes creativity which is why you need to organise
know where the story is going
have an outline and or storyboard scenes done first

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:12:12 PM PDT
reply to Oldog_Oltrix's post:

its when you have a deadline that you cant pantsit
organising will make it much faster better easier cheaper

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:14:18 PM PDT
reply to Baron Sardonicus's post:

my experience is that the musers and pantsers fail at a very high rate
organisers succeed in proportion to their skills and effort

what makes me an authority?
having been a paid writer
and having seen so many wannabee arrogants fail big time with their nike approach

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:15:16 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:16:00 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:24:42 PM PDT
MelindaC says:
True, whomper, but creativity takes time and thought, too, wouldn't you agree? I know fiction authors who think anything less than 2,000 words a day is a failure, but I also know fiction authors who take a year (or longer) to finish a book. It's hard to define success by daily word count, isn't it?

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012, 8:28:53 PM PDT
MelindaC says:
I think it takes a mix, but I like my father-in-law's phrase: Organized chaos. I'm a plotter, for sure, in everything I do. I actually have a goal of being just a little less stringent. I think there's something to be said for chaos. Within reason, of course. ;-)
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 19 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in
 


Recent discussions in the Fiction forum

 

This discussion

Discussion in:  Fiction forum
Participants:  31
Total posts:  455
Initial post:  May 1, 2012
Latest post:  May 26, 2012

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 4 customers