My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the king, shaping the river into words. (Psalm 45:1)

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1. Read the topmost post, then click on "comments".
2. Read the last comment to see the most recent addition to the story.
3. Copy/past the entire story to date into a new comment box.
4. Add a further three words.
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Remember! This is meant to be a story!
Have fun!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

About Pansters - by Shirley Corder

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

This character independence can lead to unfinished stories or stories with
so 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
quotes from him:

"I won't try to convince you that I've never plotted any more than I'd try
to convince you that I've never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as
possible. I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because out LIVES are
laregely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and
careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity
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, of course)."

"The situation comes first. The characters - always flat and unfeatured, to
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 expected."

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?

1 comment:

  1. I love those Stephen King sayings ... YES, YES, Yes, they resonate.

    I am Proudly Pantser!