Archive for Pantsing

In Response to Ksenia Anske.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2013 by royalmanaball

Ksenia Anske, author of The Siren Suicides, due in July, had just posted a blog in regards to the time-honored kerfuffle of how one can write a book – Pantsing versus Plotting.

Truth be told, I had just learned of the term “pantsing” last month. No foolin’. For those not in-the-know, it means to “write from the seat of your pants.” Not necessarily stream-of-conscious, but damn close.

Ach… how do I do it? Hmm… Well, when I had written Celestials, I did begin via pantsing, I suppose, but I soon found myself having to keep a “playbook.” This is basically an outline for your plot and a poopsheet for your characters. Now, I don’t mean you have to write everything that is in the bellboy’s closet that won’t even remotely be mentioned in the narrative, but it does file down some of the basics. What they do look like and, most importantly, what they do and don’t know.

I had managed my playbook in a very pantsing style, however. Things would develop and I would outline it as I went along. Remember, your characters are going to wind up writing the story for you eventually. No, they really will, and thus, the plot may change. Does this make me a pantser?

A typical writer's butt.

A typical writer’s butt.

Research. I do it. Only when I need to, though. If I have some sort of technical question, the wonderful world of the Interwebz will fulfill my need in a jet-flash. No excuse for technical inaccuracies anymore.

Normally, I’ve always thought of myself as a plotter, but I think I do rely on the wind to carry me more so than I imagine. My proofer and my editing phases or “passes” (I never think of them as “drafts.” I just don’t), take care of everything from the major transgressions to the minor peccadillos. MS Word is vertical, and I figure my process in a linear fashion.

Ksenia writes that she produces no less than two thousand words a day. I’m pretty much on base with her. During this principal production phase (my first “draft”), I write and write and do so simply via the little animated cartoons going on in my imagination.

That’s easy for me since I am, by trade, a graphic designer. Visual play is second nature to me, so as long as the film keeps rolling in my head, I can translate that into written drama.

I am not educated in English or Comp. Lit. or Creative Writing – nothing like that. Big University styles and shibboleths are more or less unknown to me. Because of this, I don’t kvetch for hours on end over, “It t’was the Schooner Hesperus! No, no. It WAS the Schooner Hesperus…”  Sure, I enjoy a certain beat or music to my writing, but I just let that come as it does and edit out the chaff during a later “pass.” Resting upon this knowledge, I just tap away during principal production and this does make the words flow in an easier fashion for me. I won’t stop until I hit that goal, because this is my job like any other and I’m not allowed to punch out early.

Due to this semi-pantsing process, if someone doesn’t enjoy my final “gold-phase” product, well, that’s just a question of that reader not liking my style. There’s plenty of styles out there and far more readers.

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