Holey Guacamole! More News from the Rabbit Hole

Day Two down The Rabbit Hole at the Queensland Writers' Centre and I am still relishing the luxury of having such a generous block of time solely devoted to writing. I might not be pounding it out as fast as some of my fellow rabbits, but I'm very happy with the way my story is shaping up.

Plotting vs. Pantsing

I had a quick chat in the lunchroom today about the merits of both approaches to writing. In a nutshell, plotting means outlining a story, start to finish–something all my spec writing in 2013 gave me heaps of practice in. “Pantsing” refers to writing by the seat of your pants. I guess you could call it “winging it,” but it's not quite that loose. In this approach, you have general idea of where your headed, but you don't really know how it's going to happen until it flows off your pen (or whatever device you use).

It was suggested in this little lunchroom tete-a-tete that the fastest writers were plotters, while the pantsers tend to meander a bit. It makes sense. Plotters just have to fill in the blanks, while pantsers have to create from scratch.

This is interesting because I went in there as a battle-hardened plotter, fully arrayed in plotting regalia, blowing the plotters' trumpets and bearing their standard. I started the event with a full start-to-finish outline of my story on Scrivner (specialised software for writers). I had created scenes, written them up on cards, and laid them out. Family histories–check. Copious notes on flora and fauna–check. Full character backstories–check, check. I had also already completed this story in short format, so I knew well and truly what was happening when. All of that preliminary work counts towards plotting and should have set me up to be the *Queen of Speed.*

Instead, I'm one of the slowest. Despite all the plotting, my story is taking its time. Lo and behold, in the act of writing, new intermediary scenes are transpiring and taking shape. New alliances are being forged. More information is required. I think that makes me a pantser.

The thing is I don't know if I'm a plotting pantser or pantsing plotter. Or does it matter? Oh gawd! This is nearly as humiliating as miming in a public space. (Yes, I caught myself in the act repeatedly today. Finally, I mimed resignation, pulled my best Geez! face, and stopped worrying about it.)

It's fascinating stuff. Honestly, the in-the-moment creativity has a buzz all its own. It's as good as flow times three. And this is what happens when you have the time to let rip. Back tomorrow for more.

Today's word count: Just over 4000 words. Only one trip to the thesaurus, one to Wikipedia for a quick refresher course on lunar cycles. I forgot my lunch though, which cost me 45 minutes.

Here's a photo of the whiteboard. I'm AS (aka, the one with low figures.) Check out the red figure at the top. That the total words written on day one by all participants, on site and online! That's a whole novel worth of words between us.

Go Rabbits!


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