Hang around writers long enough, and eventually you’ll be at a kaffeeklatsch or dinner or late night talk at a hotel bar, and someone will say to you, “Are you a plotter or pantser?”
I propose a third kind of plotting technique; labyrinth walking.
If you’re a pantser you are not in sole charge of the work. The characters, the plot, the theme, all chip in and drag the book to new and exciting places. You want them to do that. This is the … Continue reading
The big pitfall of planless writing is that the story will go nowhere.The questing party will wander around the mines of Moria in the dark and never get out. The hobbits forget about the One Ring and become involved in … Continue reading
For years, when people described pantsing vs plotting, I listened carefully to everyone. I was trying to work out what I was doing wrong. I was doing nothing wrong. I was flying by the seat of my pants… my way. … Continue reading
Since a pantser has no plan and no outline, you have to have a clear vision. Not necessarily of where the work is going to go. But you have to feel, clearly, what the work has to be like. You … Continue reading
The first bit of advice for the aspiring pantser is the least useful of all. You have to begin it. You have to have some dim idea of what the work is going to be like, and you have to … Continue reading
We are reliably informed that there is a spectrum of writers. Over here on the far side are the dedicated plotters and planners. These are the JRR Tolkiens of the art. They begin by getting a PhD in linguistics, the … Continue reading
This is a perennial question that writers get. As you might expect the answers are just about infinite. But April brings to mind an example. I wrote a story, “A Mighty Fortress” (see it in the BVC anthology Rocket Boy … Continue reading
Worldbuilding is one of the great pleasures of writing science fiction and fantasy — and also one of its greatest challenges. Award-winning fantasy author Marie Brennan draws on her academic training in anthropology to peel back the layers of a setting, going past the surface details to explore questions many authors never think to answer. She invites you to consider the endless variety of real-world cultures — from climate to counterfeiting, from sumptuary laws to slang — and the equally endless possibilities speculative fiction has to offer.
We’ve all read those books. The ones where everything is going swimmingly and then somebody you’re supposed to care about does something so eye-wateringly dumb that your eyes hurt from rolling, and that sound you hear is your molars grinding … Continue reading