The grey area between outlining and pantsing


Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 39

Thread: The grey area between outlining and pantsing

  1. #1

    The grey area between outlining and pantsing

    Am I correct in viewing pantsing and outlining as a spectrum, more so than a binary choice? I just thought back on how I've been writing my current novel so far. I don't do a scene by scene outline in a separate document. what I do, is to write a super fast first draft without much care for detail. In my first draft, there's almost no dialogue, description etc...

    All I have, is basically a rundown of the events in the following format:

    X happens. Character does Y. Because of that, Z happens. Because of Z, character does A...

    This takes my up to about 30000 Words when I'm done. I then run through the first draft, adding in dialogue and description. This brings the nevel up to about 50k Words. I then run through it one more time, adding in Deep thoughts that bring out who the character is on a much deeper level. This is about Another 10-15 k Words.

    Do any of you write in a similar way? Would you consider this outlining or pantsing? I just view it as a multi-draft process, with a very crude first draft. What I like about it, is that when I get to the end of the first draft, it kind of gives me a feeling of completion, where I go: "Ok, novel is done. All I have to do now is add in the extras". Of course, those "extras" are very much needed and make up about half of the novel, but the sense of "almost done" is a great feeling when writing.
    Follow me on Hidden Content and check out my novels.

  2. #2
    I agree that it's a spectrum, not a binary. So... I wouldn't give your process either title. I'd say it's somewhere in the middle, where I think the vast majority of writers are.

  3. #3
    To answer your question on this. Despite being no authority, if it makes you write 30,000 constantly then that is not outlining. I haven't tried it.

    I think outlining is flawed, but don't have a convincing argument to answer why. For me if I could be a panster, I'd write a story faster. I only use outline if I had no other way of writing an idea in a story. Writers keep notebooks anyways for jotting down ideas. But I feel I want to write as a panster. To do so I've been reading of what some people do. Where they find their inspiration. And the superior style of writing, outlining versus pansting may not exist. But looking for new sources of inspiration may eliminate outlining. We "shouldn't wait for inspiration". I have heard this often. It comes from a lot of productive writers. People who I saw on youtube who did a writers conference. I agree since it is a problem but what we want to is seek a solution for the writing problems. A solution is needed for many real-world dilemmas. This may not be a dilemma but a writer problem or an issue I wish I could solve. So I don't discard the advice of everything I read. Much advice can be discarded on writing. Sometimes the fear of writing is too great because there is too much noise in my case. Or because of my language problems which discourage me a bit. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; May 19th, 2018 at 04:39 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  4. #4
    Isn't pantsing when you pull down someone's pants?

  5. #5
    Of course not. I thought it means simply writing by the seat of chair waiting until your head bleeds to produce something. But I want to learn the pantser way if there is a way for example by simply writing whether using a newspaper for example to trigger a small story. Some people do this quite often. A member here was recently asking whether to base people on fictional reporting of journalist and reporters (he wanted to write a story on serial killers). It's things like these I want to try. How do people get ideas all the time, which is what I am looking answers for.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  6. #6
    So being a panster is the same as stream of consciousness writing?

    I tried writing like that but without an outline I tended to paint myself into a corner. Stream of consciousness writing is good for your first 200k words, when you are learning the ropes and just need to rack up the writing experience, but to do it for a project that is 100k words or more always seemed like a bad idea to me. I write big books so when they need to be fixed, it is a huge job that leaves scars.

    For short stories and novelas, I could see being a panster. But for the big projects, you need a blueprint.

  7. #7
    I was thinking that I wanted to learn ways to trigger ideas that I hadn't thought off randomly but better. Instead of outlining, word-association of character traits (connecting traits of one person by writing a word that I think up that are by association good matches) is used in writing and other improvisation techniques. To give a short example: why is a person angry in a park and the other afraid. This kind of writing is improvising a lot. "What if" is a good example of this. Or word association, take 5 words and write a scene on this. (got this from a book that explains these techniques) source: Characters in Action: Playwriting the Easy Way by Marsh Cassady

    I sometimes ask "why questions" when I read a short story. So I want to learn more, when I write my stories. I will order some books since I need to get the basics of a story down. Anyways, outlining agree with if you need it, and feel you need a guide. Some people plan their novels in advance like j.k. rowling and some like stephen king just write away supposedly with good results.

    But I have nothing against outlining a novel.

    In fact if you come up with a story idea like in the opening post using a technique where you can come up with ideas. But postpone writing the story for a story for later, that is the kind of outlining I might do myself. I am worried about my output. If you can write 30,000 words then good. Without a plan. But agree you need planning.

    I think I tend to write a lot of my writer's ideas inside a notebook. What I don't like is that I make notes after I think up in my head ideas, and write the story many days later. Then it results in nothing. This is too much outlining that I want to correct. Becuase it results in nothing. I want to jumpstart a story without relying too much on it is what I am saying.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; May 19th, 2018 at 11:57 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    So being a panster is the same as stream of consciousness writing?

    I tried writing like that but without an outline I tended to paint myself into a corner. Stream of consciousness writing is good for your first 200k words, when you are learning the ropes and just need to rack up the writing experience, but to do it for a project that is 100k words or more always seemed like a bad idea to me. I write big books so when they need to be fixed, it is a huge job that leaves scars.

    For short stories and novelas, I could see being a panster. But for the big projects, you need a blueprint.
    No, stream of consciousness is a style of writing; being a pantser is a writing process. You could "pants" very formal, structured writing and you could plan stream of consciousness. I don't really think there's a relationship between the two.

  9. #9
    Ahhh, now I feel like the lowbrow that I am.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bayview View Post
    No, stream of consciousness is a style of writing; being a pantser is a writing process. You could "pants" very formal, structured writing and you could plan stream of consciousness. I don't really think there's a relationship between the two.
    stream of con·scious·ness noun a person's thoughts and conscious reactions to events, perceived as a continuous flow. The term was introduced by William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890).
    It is a writing of one's thoughts, AS THEY OCCUR. That cannot be planned. Outlines are reviewed, tweaked, etc. Any modification to the thoughts makes it no longer a stream of consciousness.
    Last edited by Jack of all trades; May 20th, 2018 at 06:37 AM.

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.