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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Methods of Writing

Everyone has their own method of writing. The important thing is finding one that works for you. Here I'm going to explain four different methods of writing.

Pantser
A pantser is NOT someone that walks around pulling down anyone else's pants (or their own for that matter). A pantser is someone who writes without an outline. They start a story and then just see where it carries them. They might have a vague idea where they're headed but more often they figure out the story as they go. Advantages of this method would be the fun involved in seeing how the story unfolds and greater ease in accepting changes of direction in plot and characters without an outline. Disadvantages are an increase of writers' block because pantsers often get stuck when they don't know where they are headed next.

Soft Outliner
A soft outliner is someone that creates a soft outline before they begin the story. When I use this method, I usually created a bulleted list of plot points that I want to hit in the order that I want to hit them and then I just write bullet point to bullet point. Advantages of this method increased flexibility because it's not so strict that you feel that you can't make changes and also it keeps you writing because you always know where you're headed next. With an outline you can also puzzle out plot problems and watch out for weak spots before you even begin writing, making revisions easier.

Strict Outliner
A strict outliner is someone that creates a strict outline before they begin the story. This outline may include all characters who will be introduced in the story, every single scene, and how each chapter will be laid out. Strict outliners often spend weeks or months working out an outline before they even begin the story. Strict outlines are great for writers that always have to know exactly what part of the story they're on and where they are to be heading next. The disadvantage to this is the writer may feel obligated to follow the outline to the letter and be encouraged to dump any ideas that may come along that deviate from the outline.

Writing Out of Order
Writing out of order may be paired with any of the above methods or your own method. In this method the writer writes scenes out of order instead of always working in order. This can be great for getting past writers' block and keeping a pantser going since if they have a future scene, they'll know where they are headed. This can also be a disadvantage since some writers (me) have a tendency to rush because they want to get to a future scene.