Famous planners and famous pantsers

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xouba
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Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by xouba » November 1st, 2010, 2:28 pm

Hi,

not having yet done anything resembling "writing seriously", I can't decide if I'm a planner or a pantser. I think I'm more of a planner, even if only out of unhealthy perfectionism. Now, how do famous authors fare? Are there more planners or more pantsers?

The only example I know is Stephen King, that AFAIK is *the* pantser. Judging from what I've read about him, it seems that plot is naught to him. What other famous planners/pantsers do you know?

Thanks in advance.

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polymath
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by polymath » November 1st, 2010, 4:57 pm

I take claims a writer solely went the organic route with a grain of salt. Avowed sit down and write writers have been outed by close associates and the writers' forgotten trunks of notes, plannng, rough drafts, and rewrites. Kurt Vonnegut for example. He claimed he just sat at the typewriter and hammered out his novels and short stories in one straightforward session. His son Mark claims he inherited Vonnegut's trunk and it's full of preparatory writing planning, rough drafts, previous versions, etc.

Piers Anthony discusses his writing process in the afterwords of the Incarnations of Immortality saga. He's some of both, patently.

Jack Kerouac's apochryphal twelve-week benzedrine, cigarette, and bourbon fueled composition of On the Road on a taped up roll of onion skin typing paper nonetheless took him nine years from inspiration inception to actually sitting down and writing.

John Grisham pounds out a bestseller annually. He recently in an ABC interview outlined his planning process. Patently a planner.

L. Ron Hubbard claimed to have written best when he was hungry, just pick a pulp digest target and write to it, and it would be accepted. I don't for a minute believe he didn't experience many rejections.

Ray Bradbury numbers his rejections into the high four digit thousands. As far as I know, he has yet to share the methods of his process.

I wonder how many other writers who claim they just did it forget how much went into preparing before actually doing it. The hardships of writing do tend to be romanticized after the fact. We'd rather be heroes than complainers, you know, cognitive biases of afteraction reporting plays a role.
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by cheekychook » November 1st, 2010, 7:08 pm

polymath wrote:We'd rather be heroes than complainers, you know, cognitive biases of afteraction reporting plays a role.
Actually a lot of people seem to prefer to be complainers.... or is that just the people who talk to me?
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polymath
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by polymath » November 1st, 2010, 7:17 pm

Complaining and fault finding fills empty talk time easier than meaningful dialogue. That's why dishing dirt is so popular during election time. On the other side of the equation, complaining relieves steam. If there's anything I've learned from listening to steam hiss, it's that people who want to unburden on me think I might have answers because my tears and fears don't show as much as theirs, or at least I might listen long enough for them to cool off. The former, of course, isn't what they want in the first place, they just want to be heard out. I'd rather have a meaningful dialogue any day.
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by unwieldy » November 2nd, 2010, 12:36 am

polymath wrote: Ray Bradbury numbers his rejections into the high four digit thousands. As far as I know, he has yet to share the methods of his process.
He mentions some of his process in this interview.

Supposedly he doesn't outline at all. He quickly hammers out a first draft then retypes it several times with revisions until it's ready.

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Quill
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by Quill » November 2nd, 2010, 10:04 am

Short stories, like poems, can be written on a wing and a prayer. Books, almost never; either the planning is done beforehand or it is done after the first draft.

There. My sweeping statements for the day.

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polymath
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by polymath » November 2nd, 2010, 11:02 am

unwieldy wrote:He mentions some of his process in this interview.

Supposedly he doesn't outline at all. He quickly hammers out a first draft then retypes it several times with revisions until it's ready.
I chuckled. First Bradbury says no one should tell writers how to write, then he imperatively says writers shouldn't outline. Inconsistencies like that give me pause. Subtext? It takes all kinds, each according to their interests and abilities.
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by sierramcconnell » November 2nd, 2010, 11:26 am

I've done it both ways. I'm sure famous writers do it, too.

Of both, I can tell you, despite having a summary, I'm nowhere near the start of it at 3000 words.

The characters will do what they want to do, no matter what you plan.

What is the old adage? Man plans, God laughs?

For writing, I think it goes: The writer plans, the muses go play.
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by unwieldy » November 2nd, 2010, 2:44 pm

polymath wrote:
unwieldy wrote:He mentions some of his process in this interview.

Supposedly he doesn't outline at all. He quickly hammers out a first draft then retypes it several times with revisions until it's ready.
I chuckled. First Bradbury says no one should tell writers how to write, then he imperatively says writers shouldn't outline. Inconsistencies like that give me pause. Subtext? It takes all kinds, each according to their interests and abilities.
I think it's funny that he so strongly disparages outlining but earlier in the same interview he mentions typing up an outline to sell a book idea, so he obviously saw some merit in it at the time. He also calls a computer "another typewriter" in the same interview, so take an old crotchety writer with a grain of salt.

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polymath
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by polymath » November 2nd, 2010, 2:50 pm

unwieldy wrote:I think it's funny that he so strongly disparages outlining but earlier in the same interview he mentions typing up an outline to sell a book idea, so he obviously saw some merit in it at the time.
Yeah, he mentions outlining a plan for connecting The Martian Chronicles' short story collection into a cohesive whole. Another useful purpose for outlining there, post-draft planning rewrites and revisions.
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by Margo » November 2nd, 2010, 3:10 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:The characters will do what they want to do, no matter what you plan.
I've seen lots of people say this, especially here on the forum, but this is absolutely not my experience. Then again, I'm not a writer who thinks of my characters as having a life besides the one I give them.
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by sierramcconnell » November 2nd, 2010, 3:15 pm

Margo wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:The characters will do what they want to do, no matter what you plan.
I've seen lots of people say this, especially here on the forum, but this is absolutely not my experience. Then again, I'm not a writer who thinks of my characters as having a life besides the one I give them.
I hear it both ways from people. Of course, I have muses who I actively interact with. They're like imaginary friends, in a way. If it wasn't for the whispers and the poking from them I don't know if I would be 3/4ths of creative as I think I am. XD
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Re: Famous planners and famous pantsers

Post by Guardian » November 11th, 2010, 10:16 am

The characters will do what they want to do, no matter what you plan.
I have a technique to merge this along with the planning. I write the beginning and the ending of the novel or the script. That's the planning phase. Then my character can do anything what she / he want between the two, while she / he is drifting to the planned end. With this method, I have the freedom of planning, while my character has the freedom to live.

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