Hello there and welcome to issue #5 of While the Paint Dries
! This week, I want to take a moment to talk writing
. More specifically, I want to address the age old planner v. pantser debate. Basically, it underpins one's entire approach to writing novels. Many authors, like J. K. Rowling, plan everything before pen touches paper. In her case she planned for seven years before starting Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and described the writing process as like carving a novel out from her notes. On the other hand, Steven King just goes with the flow, writing in the heat of the moment and editing hard afterwards. Up until now, I've been a pantser (the terms comes from the expression "flying by the seat of your pants!). I published two novels (removed, they sucked
) on Amazon and wrote another in this fashion and it has its appeal. One finds out more about one's characters as one writes, allowing different aspects to come out all the time, and you can allow the plot to take fun and unexpected directions. However, for me, I've decided to become a planner. For me, I've decided that my plots are too free
. They go off at tangents with too many narrative viewpoints. They are wild and, because I have gone with the flow, often have awkward, unrealistic or dull passages in order to drag them towards a reasonable conclusion. Clever plotting is harder with this approach as one needs to sow the seed for twists early on, meaning that a complete rewrite of the first draft is probably necessary for a pantser style. Therefore, I've decided to work as a planner. This approach, though risking less free character development or instinctive plotting, does at least have the advantage that one know what one is doing from the off. This is not to say that one can not try new things while writing if the plot seems to demand it but that one has a master plan, a strong sketch upon which to paint your words
. It also means that one will never be caught out. I've often, in the past, been caught on the hoof and been forced to come up with some motivation or bit of backstory as to why something should be or why someone would react in a certain way. Needless to say, this often needs later revision as proper care and attention has not been paid to the matter. By planning before writing, one has a great stock of information, some needed, some which will never be needed, which one can bring out, properly thought through, as and when required. So this is why I've decided that, for me, the planner approach is better. While the pantser style is free and exciting, promissing a very instinctive creativity, it can lead to over-complication, unbalanced structure and glib developements. It is a style which requires a LOT of rewriting and editing after the first draft. The planner style is a lot safer in this regard. While it can perhaps risk predictability and a slightly forced effect if characters want to go one way but the plan tells them to go in another, it tends to lead to tighter, better paced plots and well-worked through characters and, if writing fantasy, worlds
. So that's me but what about you? Do you favour a planning or pantsing approach?
This week, we have a part three to my blog as I have a book I'm just bursting to share with you but one which doesn't warrant a ful review due to it's nature. I attended a gallery exhibition recently, the subject of which was Victorian Gothic Revival. Apart from the wonder of the exhibition itself, I was also given a great book lead, for on display were some pages from a book written at the time by a designer called Own Jones. His books, The Grammar of Ornament, is a wonder to behold, a true magnum opus. Unlike purists lsuch as Augustus Pugin, Jones believed that the designs of the past could be used in a great variety of ways with each other as long as an artistic eye was brought to bear. He collected a vast collection of designs from all over the world and many of these ended up in the Grammar of Ornament. It is absolutely STUFFED with ornamental borders and patterns from all over the world, from Greece to China, from Egypt to Renaissance Europe. All the plates are in full colour and it is an absolute dream for an artist like me. So much of a classic is it that it is still in print. Unfortunately, none are full size and many are greatly abridged. However, I have a good edition from ACBlack. While, as some have complained, some of the designs are rendered illegible by the handbook size of the edition at least it seems to be a full edition and so loosing a few of the 2,350 designs in the book is a bit like getting box of vintage Star Wars figurines at a Garage sale for twenty dollars and finding that Boba Fett has his head missing. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't detract from a brilliant book and I cannot recommentd it enough. If you are a designer and love historic ornament get this book
DEVIATION OF THE WEEK #37!
Which goes to
with her wonderful little necklaces! To her goes the llama and the feature