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A Compromise For Pantsers Writing World Building Novels (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I thought I'd make this thread because I think it's a great solution and would help quite a few people in the same boat as me.

I've been giving this a lot of thought lately because I was worried about it. I'm a pantser and like to discover as I write. If I know too much about what happens next, I lose enthusiasm and feel like all I'm doing is painting by numbers. But I also knew The Sixth Chamber was going to require at least some information about the places, the characters, the customs, the religions, the cultures etc. I tried making notes and building a data base but it really frustrated me. It literally curled my toes. I couldn't abide it.

So what I've decided to do is embrace info dumps! The solution was sitting right there in front of me but because info dumps are demonised, I couldn't see it. I didn't even think about it until today. With the method I'm proposing, you can still write like a pantser while adding in details about the world and characters but as you go and not breaking the flow.

Every time I come to a new place, inn, church, town, city, region, culture, species etc, I'm going to write a few paragraphs on it, but I'm going to write it as if I'm going to include it in the final draft, but I'm not. I'm going to write all that extra detail in italics and then copy and paste that information, once I've finished writing for the day, into a database. My flow isn't stopped, I'm still discovering what happens next, and I'm building a data base of information for later on. It's the perfect solution for me and I'm actually pretty excited about it.

I'll leave those huge info dumps in until later edits and drafts, duplicating information from those dumps into the body of the story. When I'm satisfied I've put in all the information I want, I'll then go through and delete all the italicised info dumps, knowing I've still got that information stored in my database just in case I want to make some final adjustments later.

It's the perfect solution IMO.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
That a good idea, I've thought to myself if I need to info dump I will because I can change it later. But haven't really done it yet...been messing with continuity and scene placement atm. You can tell me if its doing me any good or not when I upload in the craft thread lol
I like the idea of italicizing it. when I have an issue, I usually highlight the sections I want to change/ unsure about. italicizing it could be a good way for me separate it from other highlighted parts.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
That a good idea, I've thought to myself if I need to info dump I will because I can change it later. But haven't really done it yet...been messing with continuity and scene placement atm. You can tell me if its doing me any good or not when I upload in the craft thread lol
I like the idea of italicizing it. when I have an issue, I usually highlight the sections I want to change/ unsure about. italicizing it could be a good way for me separate it from other highlighted parts.
The good thing about it is you're still 'discovery' writing. You don't know anything about that church you suddenly came upon in your story. It just appeared and so its description and story becomes part of the 'discovery' process too.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
The good thing about it is you're still 'discovery' writing. You don't know anything about that church you suddenly came upon in your story. It just appeared and so its description and story becomes part of the 'discovery' process too.
The struggle with discovery writing, at least for me, is- i will be writing something and then get an idea and then i'm like oh shit I gotta do some research on that 😬 😆
Planners do that all the before hand usually
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
The struggle with discovery writing, at least for me, is- i will be writing something and then get an idea and then i'm like oh shit I gotta do some research on that 😬 😆
Planners do that all the before hand usually
That's a slightly different problem but you can still just put a note on what to research at the end of the italicised info dumps.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
That's a slightly different problem but you can still just put a note on what to research at the end of the italicised info dumps.
I agree its a different problem but its part of the problem. (of pantsing) for some reason I have a hard time moving on without having something down. I've gotten better with using place holders here and there but I need to learn to get over it and continue writing. That or be okay with bs-ing something until I figure it out later.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
I’m a pantser (autocorrect likes saying I’m a panther lol).
I have to research heavily for my historical fiction, though, so I only get the feeling of discovery when I’m writing fantasy. It’s nice, but I don’t get to do it that often. I sometimes get the “I had so much fun imagining it, it will be a lot of work to write it” but then it gets interesting trying to find the right words. Is my writing able to capture what I’ve experienced? How closely?

Research is such a reward! I enjoy walking the streets I’ve researched extensively, trying to find the right way to describe what it’s like, what bakery or clothing trend to mention, and often describing characters who really lived… I guess it becomes more like describing home or a place I love than turning over a stone and descending into a different world.

I end up editing a lot of the research out because people don’t need it. I find this very sad. It’s probably like these information dumps except that I don’t know I will be editing them out prior to writing them.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I’m a pantser (autocorrect likes saying I’m a panther lol).
I have to research heavily for my historical fiction, though, so I only get the feeling of discovery when I’m writing fantasy. It’s nice, but I don’t get to do it that often. I sometimes get the “I had so much fun imagining it, it will be a lot of work to write it” but then it gets interesting trying to find the right words. Is my writing able to capture what I’ve experienced? How closely?

Research is such a reward! I enjoy walking the streets I’ve researched extensively, trying to find the right way to describe what it’s like, what bakery or clothing trend to mention, and often describing characters who really lived… I guess it becomes more like describing home or a place I love than turning over a stone and descending into a different world.

I end up editing a lot of the research out because people don’t need it. I find this very sad. It’s probably like these information dumps except that I don’t know I will be editing them out prior to writing them.
Honestly the research can be more for the writer than the reader in the long run. Even if you don't use half the stuff you looked up or the info isn't needed it helps you write more confidently. I hate relaying info I'm not confident in. In some instances I need to fake it until I make it but honestly it's a struggle. I will be writing and then I'm like wait...is this correct? Even if it's something small...I will drop what I'm doing and look it up. Sometimes it's hard to find exactly what you are looking for. Especially when it's more experienced based
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Honestly the research can be more for the writer than the reader in the long run. Even if you don't use half the stuff you looked up or the info isn't needed it helps you write more confidently. I hate relaying info I'm not confident in. In some instances I need to fake it until I make it but honestly it's a struggle. I will be writing and then I'm like wait...is this correct? Even if it's something small...I will drop what I'm doing and look it up. Sometimes it's hard to find exactly what you are looking for. Especially when it's more experienced based
Totally agree! I'm not sure what world-building encompasses, but this makes me recall a similar experience. As the pantser I am, I stumbled on a plotline. It involved a complex series of financial transactions that lead to an upset for my protagonist. I stopped writing and spent time working through the transactions on Excel. It was quite difficult to get it to work out in a way that would be realistic and get the result I needed. I was so certain I was going to portray all these transactions in the period that spanned over a number of chapters. So, I met with a friend who is a financial expert to gain her agreement that my calculations would hold water. I came with a ginormous spreadsheet. She just look at me and said, "No one is going to care about all of this. Just say that the value changed because the bank reassessed. That's all the reader needs to know." And it's funny that I didn't think of that myself, but she was right. Saved me from having to edit it out later.

However, that being said, I don't feel that I wasted my time. I would have been uncomfortable writing about this financial maneuver if it wasn't credible. So I keep the spreadsheet in case some critique ever questions the credibility of my plotline. As Kegan aptly points out, if you are not confident in your world it's hard to go forward.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
So true! @Taylor I feel that too, I have to research it to know I’m right and THEN figure out what can be left out. I’m somehow also glad you went to those lengths. This last time it I found out what to take out in the editing process. It’s easier to take out than not have it in the first place (the opposite of salt in food lol).

@KeganThompson what kinds of things have you researched for your books?
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
So true! @Taylor I feel that too, I have to research it to know I’m right and THEN figure out what can be left out. I’m somehow also glad you went to those lengths. This last time it I found out what to take out in the editing process. It’s easier to take out than not have it in the first place (the opposite of salt in food lol).

@KeganThompson what kinds of things have you researched for your books?
Welp... currently I have a character working at a theater and the only experience I have with that is drama club in the 6th grade lol
I have no idea how it works business wise, production wise.I've never experienced backstage at a performing arts show as an actor/extra. It's easy enough to find the rehearsal types and and stuff like that online. the overall experience of being in that environment is harder to understand since I've never done that or know anyone who has. Also finding the smaller details can be hard.
Doing my best to string what I can find together and make something that doesn't sound like I don't know what I'm talking about lol.
 
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Llyralen

Senior Member
Welp... currently I have a character working at a theater and the only experience I have with that is drama club in the 6th grade lol
I have no idea how it works business wise, production wise. I had no idea about even the small details like different types of rehearsals. I've experienced backstage at a performing arts show as an actor/extra. It's easy enough to find the rehearsal types and and stuff like that. But the overall experience of being in that environment
That would definitely take some research... and I bet it's awesome. =) Who doesn't want to experience that?
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
That would definitely take some research... and I bet it's awesome. =) Who doesn't want to experience that?
I was still typing when I uploaded my response on accident lol. (Using my phone) Hopefully now that its edited it, it's a better reply lool
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Bloody 'on accident'. BY accident!
Huh...are both of those acceptable? New research to do! Sorry, Az... this is now the pantsers talk a bit about their research thread. lol.

@KeganThompson There is so much jargon in the theater isn't there? I wrote a poem about a dancer a bit ago and looked up all of these stage directions. And it's so cool... it's so cool when you realize there are all sorts of words for something you never thought of before.

I'm going to make a new thread in the research area so that those of us who like to research can discuss what we've been learning in a sharing way? Hopefully we can reproduce this conversational dialogue there....
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Are you going to bed too? ;-)
Stay up and chat in my new thread? LOL Just kidding! But I am in this late-night- let's talk mood! I'm watching "Only Murders in the Building". Who has watched it? Okay... my other thread.... is there a thread just to chat? Should I delete this? Actually... I haven't figured out how to delete posts if there is a way.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Listen Az it's 1220 am here and I'm typing on my phone about to go to bed...
Besides you know grammar isn't my strong suit.
Lemme alone! 😭
It's not your fault. It's been creeping into English for a while now and more and more people are using it, rather like 'I could care less'. It vexes me somewhat.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
It's not your fault. It's been creeping into English for a while now and more and more people are using it, rather like 'I could care less'. It vexes me somewhat.

For what it's worth...I'm at least a sixth-generation purebred Texas redneck and the casual disregard for conventions of the language makes me want to high-five people in the head with chairs.

Accurately capturing the sense of a place or time is one thing. Should of or I seen or was ran, though...that's an invitation to a whoopin'.

Damned illiterate heathens.
 
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