Anti-Asshat Indie Authors discussion

Writing > Outline, or Seat of the Pants?

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 42 comments Just wondering, how many out there outline their books first, and how many just fly by the seat of their pants?

At the moment, I am mostly pantsing, though I do have a rough general outline in my head.

message 2: by Xo (new)

Xo   (xowashere) Interesting term, David. For me, personally, automatic writing is something I try to achieve; I am confident that heavy outlining may stifle the opportunities for this to happen, so I try to avoid outlining in detail.

I do, as you say you are now doing, keep a basic outline in my head; all of my work is written with the intent of resulting in allegory, so there must be some reason behind the prose.

Unfortunately, however, if I am working on a piece with several deep layers, I must outline to keep the story confined and its internal stories consistent with one another. Sucks. Hate doing it; sometimes it's necessary.

message 3: by Rick (new)

Rick Gualtieri (rickgualtieri) I do both, depending on genre. For my comedy books, I'm definitely a pantser. Works much better that way and usually funnier too. Horror is different, though. That needs to be outlined, otherwise you wind up with a finale in which the monster is in one area and the hero is somewhere else and there's no logical way to get them together.

message 4: by Armada (new)

Armada Volya | 130 comments I try to have the ending and a few parts in the middle figured out ahead of time. Sometimes things change though and I kill characters I was planing to have around longer.

message 5: by Jason (last edited Apr 09, 2013 06:42PM) (new)

Jason Beil | 2 comments I'm with Armada. I have ideas in my head, a few key events and an ending I'm heading toward, but that's it. Sometimes I write down a note or two if I think of something I really don't want to forget, but otherwise I'm a pantser. The thing is, even with my loose idea of where things are going, I end up changing a lot of things anyway, so an outline would be pretty much a waste of time for me. But different strokes for different folks!

Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell (neniacampbell) | 177 comments Mod
I guess I'm a pantser. Unless the plot is really complicated/the world building is really complicated, and then I outline.

Christopher-Michael Snyder (christophermichaelsnyer) | 13 comments I am speaking here with minimal experience but I wanted to share my experiences with writing novels (note: 102 pages into second novel..definitely not "seasoned").

I'd always wanted to write but I was overly concerned with writer's block and quite possibly having too much unfinished work. I'd never worried about lack of ideas for novels because my mind comes up with too much. Keeps me up all too often haha But one night the first scene of my first novel came to me and I felt, "Wow! That's a hell of a start". And over the next day or two a plethora of 'scenes' came to my mind. At that point I felt that I had what a movie trailer would be to a movie.

I felt that my best option for success were "creating a body" to write a complete novel. Outline the ideas I'd already had as the basic skeleton. Imagine scenes with lesser importance to the actual story (but still integral to the final story) and add them as 'organs'. And then the 'muscles' where the connecting elements. The story that lead from one outlined scene to another. For some reason my "body" wasn't going to have any skin =0)

But I sat down to write the first scene and some magic happened. A movie played out in my head. Each connecting scene occurred in real-time in my head. I typed feverishly to not miss any details of what I saw in my head. Knowing that it would be important to (potential) future readers that everything was included that I could type down. And this continued straight through to the end.

The biggest surprise to me was how things that my mind had seemed to put down in passing earlier in the story actually came back to play a part. Everything felt so intertwined. I couldn't believe it. The biggest problem in editing was to make sure that everything that was in my head made it to the manuscript and that nothing was left out in my haste. I felt that it were all too possible that something may have been left out and I could have missed it because it had been in my head so it should very well be in my book. I coded a website for people to read every page of the novel, comment on, offer edits, etc.. and had 10 people whom I trust when it comes to literary concerns. And their main goal was to make sure that everything made proper sense to them which would likely meant that everything made it from my head to the manuscript.

I felt that perhaps this had been a fluke. But a little over 100 pages into my second novel I am writing the same way. While I know of important scenes that will have to play out and when...I still just let the whole thing play out in my head, grab some mental popcorn and watch the movie play out...whilst typing furiously.

message 8: by Rick (new)

Rick Gualtieri (rickgualtieri) Christopher-michael wrote: "I am speaking here with minimal experience but I wanted to share my experiences with writing novels (note: 102 pages into second novel..definitely not "seasoned").

I'd always wanted to write but I..."

Some awesome stuff. As a huge continuity freak myself, I can dig it.

back to top