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On Writing: Writer Types

This week I’m going to post several observations on writing . Some may be brief, some a tad longer, but all are presented from my perspective as a writer. Feel free to share your writer’s opinions and personal observations in the comments section. Enjoy!

As I see it, there are two kinds of writers: the organized writer, and the ‘pantser.’ (Okay, three kinds if journalists are included.)

The organized writer uses outlines, or plot arcs, and, with little deviation, precisely maps their story line, its location(s), and all the characters involved from Chapter One to The End.

The pantser becomes inspired with a concept, decides the protagonist involved (plus a few primary characters), and then sits down with them (in his/her mind) and writes from the seat of his/her pants, never exactly knowing which character might dominate the mental conversation from one day to the next, or what direction the plot line may travel.

Is one method better than the other? I think not. I think it’s a matter of creative choice. I also believe that once a writer develops his/her method, style, and writer’s voice, they should stick with it.

Does being a pantser have drawbacks? Well, yes. Unless pure Sci-fi or Fantasy is the chosen genre, fiction writers typically face the task of ‘keeping it real.’ Giving readers something they can relate to helps them bond with both the story and its characters. But keeping it real means research for the writer, which can either re-ignite or dampen a pantser’s creative flow. Timelines pose another factor pantsers can have trouble with. Because pantsers write from the cuff, they sometimes overlook a few glaring details that require rewrites.

I’ve utilized both the organized and pantser methods. Most of my completed works, however, have evolved from accepting an idea and running with it until The End. For me, being a pantser is more enjoyable, because I never know who might enter the scene and twist the plot. Pantsers seem more creative. A good secretary to track the particulars, however, is mighty nice. For me, that secretary is my writing group.

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