The gist . . .
This topic didn’t yield a full hour’s worth of conversation, but it was a great turnout and so much fun to chat with people in real time! And we found other things to discuss. 😉
First, some working definitions:
Plotter—one who outlines before writing
Pantser—one who “flies by the seat of his pants” when writing
Basically, we went around and discussed our processes, and I’d say it was pretty much split between those who use at least a broad method of outlining (i.e., they have a rough idea of where their story is going) and those who are true “pantsers.”
We also talked about authors who claim to be one or the other (Stephen King, Meg Cabot & Annie Dillard have all said they’re pantsers, and we had a bit of a debate as to whether or not we really believe it).
Those who plot shared some of their plotting techniques as well as helpful plotting books:
- Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need (Blake Snyder)
- I’ve talked about this book on the blog before, but in it, Snyder details the “15 beats” to any successful story.*
- It’s a helpful way to plot without plotting yourself to death (see my examples of movies broken up into their 15 beats)
- First Draft in 30 Days (Karen S. Wiesner)
- One Write-Brainiac is currently working on this, and at least one other has used it in the past.
- Basically, here’s what it looks like*:
- Days 1-6 Preliminary Outline (character/sketching/plot sketches and summary outline)
- Days 7-13 Research
- Days 14-15 Evolution of the Story
- Days 16-24 Formatted Outline
- Days 25-28 Evaluating the Outline’s Strength
- Days 29-30 Revising the Outline
OTHER SUGGESTED READING
- I was fortunate enough to hear one of our Write-Brained Network workshop speakers, author David L. Robbins, speak in June 2010 at the Southeastern Writers Association conference on the very subject of plotting. He warns not to do it too thoroughly, as the story will not unfold as it should (recordative vs. recollective writing). He recommends what he calls “baseball writing.”
- Write-Brainiac and upcoming young adult author, the Diana-Fox-repped Cristin Terrill, is participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days, where she plans to write a book in said amount of days (sort of like NaNoWriMo, but with more wiggle room).
Check out her post on the topic here.
- Not really plotting-related, but Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life was suggested as a must-read for all writers.
Want in? Join us April 26 from 9-10 p.m. EST for our next WB Live Chat! Topic: Poetry Panel.