Monday, November 04, 2013

Outlining vs. Pantsing

The great divide in writing styles among genre writers, it is said, it the difference between outlining your story and flying by the seat of your pants.

When I was starting out over a decade ago, I tried to outline, but I quickly learned it seemed to constrain my free flow of thoughts. Since then, I have written in a style that would be called by most people "pantsing".

But that's probably a misnomer in my case. I learned over time that I apparently work out some kind of outline subconsciously in my mind beforehand, and when I sit down to write it pours out. The advantage of this style - why it works for me - is that since there is still is no outline to follow, I will write the narrative in whatever direction it leads.

As many writers will tell you, stories and characters often will go off in directions you didn't anticipate. The best thing to do sometimes is to get out of their way.

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