Are Pantsers Just Plotters in Disguise?

Hot dang. It's wo

So, what I'm wondering is - does having a strong innate knowledge of the world you are writing about - either through knowing it well or by already held knowledge - make it easier to write without as much planning? Just a thought.

For me yes. I know what my characters are going to do and the world they love in. I don't worldbuild much but I do have mood boards.
When a situation arises I fill in their reactions.
 
Hot dang. It's worth it, though... (and I rarely say that about expensive ebooks)

Ihe - sorry, we'll be good! although it did occur to me that perhaps this crosses into pansters and plotters in that sometimes how much knowledge we already have may affect how much worldbuilding we do.

For example, if I write anything Irish mythology related I have a shape of what is acceptable already in my mind. So when I'm writing with no plot or reason, my subconscious quickly warns me if I'm going off piste. Similarly, in Abendau, the world I've spent years devising. But a new world may be harder for me to do that kind of writing in because I don't know the rules just so innately.

Also, perhaps of relevance to this is how we think. There are two ways to make decisions: Optimising, ie using the information we can collate, and spending time working through that, or heuristic, which is our gut instinct. If you think of the mother taking her child to the doctor and insisting they are sick even when nothing overt is found. Doctors would tell you - and there is research to support it - that the mother's instinct is normally more reliable than diagnostic tests. Because they know so much about the child, often of it unconsciously, and have the alarm bell when something runs contrary to that.

So, what I'm wondering is - does having a strong innate knowledge of the world you are writing about - either through knowing it well or by already held knowledge - make it easier to write without as much planning? Just a thought.

This makes sense to me and it fits my experience. Stopping to think of details robs your momentum. While I'm a fan of just sticking XXXX in and moving on (at theory in least...), there's surely only so many times you can do that before most minds starts fixating on the the missing details/feels like its looking at Australian beer packaging.

Plus, of course, what point you think of this changes things. I spend a couple of months prodding at an idea before I ever write it; if I have an idea like the fae being fallen angels in that time, I am going to prod at all angles at it. I can't help it. I'm going to discover lots of things about it. A pantser quite possibly has this idea only when they've started writing the book and as such, possibly doesn't think a great deal deeper than how it effects the characters and plot, but maybe think more deeply on those subjects.

About the first thing Brandon Sanderson does in his youtube lectures is talk about how the two styles produce slightly different stories. Discovery written stories don't always have great endings, because sometimes the writer is left with too much to resolve. Sometime Plotted stories don't go as deep into their characters, as decisions aren't made with the character's voices right in their ears. I'd love to tell you more but the volume on those things is garbage and I couldn't keep listening.

But there are going to be differences on how writers make decisions based on when they make them.
 
My first book took nearly two years to discovery write. My second I plotted/outlined and wrote, i think, in three months. So I would agree in the efficiency aspect.

I'll be an plotter for the rest of my days. (at least for novels)
 
Does it really matter how you do it? As long as you end up with what you want, job's a good'n.

As a discovery writer...

Vic_Bob_Handbags.jpg
 
Oh @Jo Zebedee, cheekeh little monkeh, good save. You turned that around well (y):D.

So, what I'm wondering is - does having a strong innate knowledge of the world you are writing about - either through knowing it well or by already held knowledge - make it easier to write without as much planning? Just a thought.

It most likely does. Everything you know about your story gives you an edge, granted, but I'm not sure if knowing your setting/lore helps plotting specifically though. It gives you a backstory which can supply general internal rules for the world in order to understand what you can or cannot do, but it doesn't hint at the plot itself. And just now I'm realising that in this instance, knowing your world to a tee might be even more stifling to the creative process than simply having mapped out your major plot points--necessary knowledge, yes, but laden with rules, yet pantsers don't seem to mind this as much as the plot structure thing.

I'm a non-binary writer. I'm feeling oppressed now. Please stop trying to pigeon hole my personal preferences and applying labels to who I am. :D
Oh, haven't ya heard? That's our thing. We usually print the labels and mail them to you. Stick'em on your forehead so others know. Sometimes I autograph them--stamp of approval and all that, Chrons-certified. :cool:
 
Oh @Jo Zebedee, cheekeh little monkeh, good save. You turned that around well (y):D.



It most likely does. Everything you know about your story gives you an edge, granted, but I'm not sure if knowing your setting/lore helps plotting specifically though. It gives you a backstory which can supply general internal rules for the world in order to understand what you can or cannot do, but it doesn't hint at the plot itself. And just now I'm realising that in this instance, knowing your world to a tee might be even more stifling to the creative process than simply having mapped out your major plot points--necessary knowledge, yes, but laden with rules, yet pantsers don't seem to mind this as much as the plot structure thing.


Oh, haven't ya heard? That's our thing. We usually print the labels and mail them to you. Stick'em on your forehead so others know. Sometimes I autograph them--stamp of approval and all that, Chrons-certified. :cool:

Hee. Thank you. Many years of derailing threads here... :D

Respectfully I disagree (and wonder if you are determined to prove the original post despite a reasonable amount of considered opinion casting doubt into it). I am 6 days into writing Abendau 4, 8000 words down and fully outlined chapters (in my head) for pretty much the whole thing. (One woolly aspect but that's only because I wont know my political animal's nuances until first draft is done, not for the plotting but for character arcs). That's hardly being slowed down by having a too-big world and a good sense of what fits....

Perhaps horses for courses is the word here. Plotters who try to write off the cuff will be inefficient. Seat of the pants peeps will be held back by plotting which will invariably go wrong when their characters turn ridiculous.

In 6 years (since first starting writing) I've finished and published five books to high critical feedback and have two more complete and on sub. I think arguing that gardening is inefficient when talking to a natural gardener (Another term for those who get giggly at knickers) is probably misunderstanding the overall process of writing as a gardener. (Which are you, by the way?)
 
Devil's advocate question - would you be slowed down if you were trying to do something with a world the size of Abendau, but which you'd spent far less time thinking about?

(Not that having a well built world makes you a plotter).
 
Devil's advocate question - would you be slowed down if you were trying to do something with a world the size of Abendau, but which you'd spent far less time thinking about?

(Not that having a well built world makes you a plotter).
God yes. That was my whole earlier point - that sometimes being subsumed on a subconscious (heuristic) level IS a form of plotting - it's just not done by my conscious mind.

I know Abendau inside out. I know the characters as well as I know people in the real life (argh! The light! It burns, Precious)

I don't need to plot. I just need to trust that I am going the right way. And then I need to edit the hell out of it. Just like if my kid seemed unwell I wouldn't spend too much time doubting myself but hightail them up to A&E.

We spend too much time dismissing the subconscious - everywhere: work, life, writing - and assuming that plotting only occurs in a rigid captured fashion. When actually my pantstering thing isn't random: the plan just isn't captured in the same way as it would be if I formally plotted. It comes from my subconscious, unrecognised, knowledge.

And that comes from the deep knowledge that we get from knowing something in detail - even if not recorded, optimised detail.

Oooooh, I ranted! Get me :D
 
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Oh @Jo Zebedee, cheekeh little monkeh, good save. You turned that around well (y):D.



It most likely does. Everything you know about your story gives you an edge, granted, but I'm not sure if knowing your setting/lore helps plotting specifically though. It gives you a backstory which can supply general internal rules for the world in order to understand what you can or cannot do, but it doesn't hint at the plot itself. And just now I'm realising that in this instance, knowing your world to a tee might be even more stifling to the creative process than simply having mapped out your major plot points--necessary knowledge, yes, but laden with rules, yet pantsers don't seem to mind this as much as the plot structure thing.


Oh, haven't ya heard? That's our thing. We usually print the labels and mail them to you. Stick'em on your forehead so others know. Sometimes I autograph them--stamp of approval and all that, Chrons-certified. :cool:

Oh shucks! I'm honored. I'll add them to my collection of reminders:

man-with-postits-on-his-face-with-labels-picture-id156938897


And I agree with your recent post - in a way, plotting is pantsing insofar that it still takes imagination and innovation to plot something out, just like when we're actually writing. In fact, some authors just plot and let other writers fill in the blanks in a style sufficiently similar to theirs. SO that kind of discredits the "go ahead and give out your ideas" premise.
 
Respectfully I disagree (and wonder if you are determined to prove the original post despite a reasonable amount of considered opinion casting doubt into it)(...)I think arguing that gardening is inefficient when talking to a natural gardener (Another term for those who get giggly at knickers) is probably misunderstanding the overall process of writing as a gardener. (Which are you, by the way?)
My original post went up because it made sense to me, but I wanted to see what others thought on it, as my own ideas on the issue weren't set in stone. And then, as it often happens with me, I end up taking the minority's side for argument's sake. If everyone had posted in favour of plotting, I probably would've argued for pantsing till death :whistle: - jk. Although to answer your suspicions, yes, I am partial to the original idea, but my arguments are not to "convert" gardeners (I strongly agree that in the end, the ideal thing is whatever works for you. If art only had one way of doing things, it wouldn't be art anymore), but to strengthen the validity of plotting.

I myself hybridise more often than not. I tend to set major plot points in place (and I do love me some worldbuilding), but everything in between is much more vague. I do like having a compass and knowing in which direction I'm going, but the journey, apart from some important scenes, is more fast and loose. I am currently considering plotting more heavily to bypass my very constant writer's block, so I guess I was amping myself up with a good word-brawl here.:mad:
 
Incidentally, in one of Terry Pratchett's essays/speeches (I think it was) he says he doesn't know what the book is going to be about until he has finished it. I rather like that statement, helps me relax.
 
Incidentally, in one of Terry Pratchett's essays/speeches (I think it was) he says he doesn't know what the book is going to be about until he has finished it.

Odd.. I usually know the beginning and ending, but tend to let the Characters surprise me with the middle! :p
 
Incidentally, in one of Terry Pratchett's essays/speeches (I think it was) he says he doesn't know what the book is going to be about until he has finished it. I rather like that statement, helps me relax.
Well, that makes sense considering his books were bonkers :D.
 
Hmm.


Starting to feel like I build the worlds and throw the characters in. The laws of the lands are predetermined, but how they interact in it is up to them.

They run around in a maze of my own design.

I let the characters be themselves but I tweak the world.

Hmm. Interesting.
 
God yes. That was my whole earlier point - that sometimes being subsumed on a subconscious (heuristic) level IS a form of plotting - it's just not done by my conscious mind.

I know Abendau inside out. I know the characters as well as I know people in the real life (argh! The light! It burns, Precious)

I don't need to plot. I just need to trust that I am going the right way. And then I need to edit the hell out of it. Just like if my kid seemed unwell I wouldn't spend too much time doubting myself but hightail them up to A&E.

We spend too much time dismissing the subconscious - everywhere: work, life, writing - and assuming that plotting only occurs in a rigid captured fashion. When actually my pantstering thing isn't random: the plan just isn't captured in the same way as it would be if I formally plotted. It comes from my subconscious, unrecognised, knowledge.

And that comes from the deep knowledge that we get from knowing something in detail - even if not recorded, optimised detail.

Oooooh, I ranted! Get me :D

Gotcha and mostly agreed.

But - and apologies if being dense - does this mean you agree with the idea that pantsing is plotting in disguise, or do you think that doing most of the plotting subconsciously in your head is a sufficiently different method that you disagree about implying such closeness?
 
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