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Is there such a thing as a plantser?

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    Posted: 22 Feb 2021 at 6:27pm
I'm rapidly approaching a major turning point in a story that's been rattling around in my head for, well, years.  I've known about this turning point from the beginning.  I have notes and fragments of dialog.  I've done the research, looked up the rules and procedure for the administrative reviews.  Ready to go.

Well plotted.

As I get closer to the actual event none of the stuff I've planned is going to happen the way I planned it.  It's still going to happen, but not the way it was well plotted.

Suddenly pantsing.  Write the words, see what the next logical step would be for the character in question.

So now I'm plantsing.  Is that a thing, or should I tell my characters to quit goofing off and do their jobs the way I plotted it?

GAH!  I HATE characters.  They start to get ideas and act like real people.  Next thing you know they're going to want to work regular hours and vote!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kristina_f Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2021 at 8:44pm
I used to be a character in a novel. After too many of use started dying, we unionized for better working conditions and hazard pay. After we won the right to vote, I was elected as the new author. Originally, I stuck to the agreed-upon plot outline, but as it became clearer and clearer I wasn't going to fulfil my election promise of completing the novel by the end of my first term, more characters had to do. For thematic reasons of course.

I have been working on a novel for reals. I set aside some space in my garden for a nice plot of pants. I built a framework of key points knowing there would have to be a lot of improvisation, adaptation, and letting things play out as I went. While the major aspects of the book haven't changed, some notable things happened. As I was writing a scene, a character ended up dead. She wasn't supposed to have died, yet somehow, that just seems to have been what happened. A big flaw in the book was that I was using far too many characters for what I wanted to get out on the page, so characters started taking on new roles, started appearing earlier than scheduled and they all started being smartasses about everything.

It happens.

I think even with the hardcore plotters, the editing process could see them making similar shifts, though possibly not to the same magnitude.

I guess what I am doing is sort of like HIIT exercises, only with plotting. HIIP? High intensity interval plotting. I go through phases of plotting where I make sure dots are all connecting and I know what I'll be writing for the next little bit, then I just sort of write it and see what gets revealed. Then I go back to plotting, adjusting for what's changed. I am not sure if this approach is leading to me making a novel or making a mess, but whatever.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2021 at 8:54pm
Originally posted by kristina_f kristina_f wrote:

I used to be a character in a novel. After too many of use started dying, we unionized for better working conditions and hazard pay. After we won the right to vote, I was elected as the new author.


It was Nod, wasn't it?  I knew her habit of killing characters off would lead to trouble.  Heck, when she's around characters in neighboring stories die.  The next heat up was Rom-Com and nobody survived!

You've pretty much described the process.  What's strange is less what happens, but how.  Sometimes the order is different, sometimes I have to change the details, but it's all more or less between the rails.

I'm, maybe, half-way though.  Still have CONTENT WARNING, then one of the other characters CONTENT WARNING, and everyone assumes the other is just upset by that, but really they're CONTENT WARNING and nobody finds out until CONTENT WARNING, but that's the catalyst that CONTENT WARNING.

Actually, maybe I'll pick a new hobby.  I'm trying to come up with one that doesn't have any warning labels attached, and I'm not successful...

Not even the Muppets are safe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amlewi08 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2021 at 10:08am
IDK how much stock you put into authortube/writertube/whatever, but this video may be interesting to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eryQEZImm6Y

She tries to break writer types into 4 categories based on a grid spectrum, with plotter vs. pantser on the y-axis and methodological vs. intuitive on the x-axis.

At first I was like "ThIs Is StUpiD aLl WrItErS aRe DifFeReNt".   And by the end I was like "oh. by her standards I'm an methodological pantser."

Sounds like you are too. haha
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mister_Write Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2021 at 10:15am
Originally posted by amlewi08 amlewi08 wrote:

IDK how much stock you put into authortube/writertube/whatever, but this video may be interesting to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eryQEZImm6Y

She tries to break writer types into 4 categories based on a grid spectrum, with plotter vs. pantser on the y-axis and methodological vs. intuitive on the x-axis.

At first I was like "ThIs Is StUpiD aLl WrItErS aRe DifFeReNt".   And by the end I was like "oh. by her standards I'm an methodological pantser."

Sounds like you are too. haha

I saw that video and really jived with the methodological pantsers archetype too. I know it's just her thoughts, but it's an interesting idea. I get a lot out of discovery writing with loose plans, but using writing theory to make my pantsing make sense retrospectively haha. Anyway, what I'm saying is that I see you, fellow methodological pantser Tongue (boy that name is a mouthful though)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amlewi08 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2021 at 1:01pm
Originally posted by Mister_Write Mister_Write wrote:


I saw that video and really jived with the methodological pantsers archetype too. I know it's just her thoughts, but it's an interesting idea. I get a lot out of discovery writing with loose plans, but using writing theory to make my pantsing make sense retrospectively haha. Anyway, what I'm saying is that I see you, fellow methodological pantser Tongue (boy that name is a mouthful though)

haha, I *particularly* resonated with the "write an outline/summary, start writing, change direction, go back and adjust outline, re-edit what's already written and come up with another thing, adjust outline, continue writing, etc".

I've never felt so called out in my life haha  
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