Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pants and Seats Thereof

Janice Hardy has a brilliant post this morning about her writing process. It's impressively structured and organised, so if you're like me (I am the Queen of the Seat of the Pants) I recommend you read it more for editing advice than writing advice.

My method is to spew at the page and then chip away the bits that aren't book - an unnecessarily painful method, actually, for someone with separation issues ['Noooo - my darling paragraph. I cannot bear to let you go! I know you deal with my protagonist buying milk and are written entirely in the passive voice, but that is no stop to true codependency!'].

Janice's post is going to be very helpful with my chipping process. And if you're less seat-of-pantsy than I am, it will definitely help your writing.


  1. I just can't start out with an outline. Once I write the second or third draft, then I outline to make sure the plotting is all there, but no...I could no sooner start out with that than I could set out all the ingredients for a long involved recipe before I start cooking. (I use that example since a)I love to cook and b)I've seen others do this in the kitchen and I respect and admire their organization skills but it's just not me.)

    So I guess you'd say I'm a seat of the pants writer as well. That's what feels comfortable to me so that's what stays! btw, I love the crisp, clean look of your blog. Glad I found you.

  2. It's good to know I'm a panster!


    I'm learning so much - especially now that I have this and "Where does a story begin" post at Nicola Morgan's blog.

    Really helpful stuff, thanks for sharing this.

    Take care

  3. Thanks, Karen, I'm glad you found me too :) And thanks for your comment, the template for this blog is just a standard one, so I can't take any credit for it!

    I'm *exactly* the same kind of cook as you. So relieved I'm not the only one. . .

    Old Kitty, good to have pointed someone at a useful post. I guess I'm not just being lazy with my linky posts! And I wonder if the term pantster will catch on :)

  4. Hi Ellen, I'm a straggler from Nicola Morgan's blog party. Thanks for the link to Janice Hardy's post. I'm just like you: I write down absolutely everything that's in my head and then feel gutted when I have to chop it down. Usually I cut and paste into a blank document in case I can salvage any of the scraps later.

  5. Hi Helen, always glad to send more traffic Janice's direction.

    I do that too :) Sometimes I tell myself that I'll turn the removed bits into short stories. Natalie Goldberg says when her editor told her to cut two chapters from her novel, she swore that when she went on book tours, she'd only read those. Then she got over it. I'm not that quick - I always hope removed bits have a future!


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