In our Topic of the Week (TOTW) we're talking about Pansters. Here are some thoughts on the topic.
Stories written by Pansters
tend to have a lot of twists and turns and often
end up somewhere you never
expected--indeed often where the author never
expected. Fantasy writers and
science Fiction writers are often Pansters.
Writing this way is a lot of
fun. (I am a Panster.) But there are downsides:
Pansters are more prone
to writer's block. It can be very frustrating when
your characters refuse to
do what you want them to do, and throw the few
plans you did have out the
window! I know it sounds weird to those of you
who are not Pansters--but
this actually happens. I had a pair of twins in a
novel who absolutely
refused to keep following an old lady they were spying
on. They insisted on
turning in the gate to a play park. As a result, they
lost the old lady. BUT
they opened the door for a new character that I
wanted to use but couldn't
figure out how to introduce. So they redeemed
character independence can lead to unfinished stories or stories with
many surprises they are difficult to follow.
Perhaps one of the
best-known Panster writers is Stephen King. How many of
you have his
excellent book (if you can bypass his language!) "On Writing"?
It really is
one of the best writing books I have read. Here are a couple of
"I won't try to convince you that I've never plotted any more than
to convince you that I've never told a lie, but I do both as
possible. I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because
out LIVES are
laregely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable
careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and
of real creation aren't compatible. . . . My basic belief
about the making
of stories is that they pretty much make themselves. The
job of the writer
is to give them a place to grow (and to transcribe them,
"The situation comes first. The characters - always flat and
begin with - come next. Once these things are fixed in my
mind, I begin to
narrate. I often have an idea of what the outcome may be,
but I have never
demanded of a set of characters that they do things my way.
On the contrary,
I want them to do things THEIR way. In some instances, the
outcome is what I
visualized. In most, however, it's something I never
Sounds like fun, right?
OVER TO YOU. Let's talk about what
we've seen today.
* Does what Stephen King says resonate with you?
Are you perhaps a Panster?
* Have you had any experiences like I've just
shared about the twins?
* Do you think being a Panster only relates to
fiction writers? Or would it also apply to a non-fiction writer?
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TOPIC OF THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER
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