So you’ve read the last article and you’re ready. You’ve come up with a safe idea to practice on, sat down and now you start writing… except you have no plan on how to write. Where does the ending go? When will it be? How will you even start? You sweat. Your hand starts to cramp. Disaster. The eye of criticism is upon you and you have no idea what you should do.
Worry not, dear reader, for you have come across this blog post written by me, the Burnt Cream™, to teach you how to write. I have been writing for years and have no publications under my belt, but I can teach you a thing or two about writing from a decade of trial and error. Still reading? Not off to play INSERTGAMEHERE? Great!
- Lesson 2: Plans.
On writing there are two kinds of writers when it comes to planning a story: the Outliner and the Discovery writer. Described as the ‘Architect-style’ by George R.R. Martin of A Song of Ice and Fire fame, the Outliner plans their stories ahead of time, making note of events and key elements that is to happen in their story.
On the other side of the scale, Discovery writers write as they go, going with the flow and letting the story write itself and GRRM coins this writer as the ‘Gardener-style’ which to no surprise if you are familiar with his works that he himself is a Discovery writer.
So now you might be wondering which one is better. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each style.
Outliners tend to have big and dynamic beginnings and climaxes but suffers in the middle. Outliners are also susceptible to a condition known as ‘World Builder’s Disease’ where they spend so much time building the world/story plan that they never actually get on to actually writing the story.
Discovery writers enjoy better and generally more organic flow to their story as the characters write themselves, giving them more life. As an inverse to Outliners, Discovery writers might have trouble with endings as they themselves are not sure when should the story end. In addition, they fear the ailment known as ‘Restartitis’; for as they organically develop their story, plot, and characters Discovery writers will face the temptation of returning to an earlier point of the story and rewrite to fit the new style ad nauseum.
So which is better? Well, the answer may surprise you:
As previously implied, Outliner and Discovery writers two ends of a scale and neither are mutually exclusive. You can for example be an Outliner for purposes of the story and pacing but be a Discovery writer when it comes to character development. Mix-and-match and just try things out and see what works.
Real talk: Still here? Great, let’s get to the serious stuff. Don’t take the things that you’ll learn from this series of guides are hard rules on how you ought to write. Instead think of them as tools for you the writer to use in creating your work. Try out and keep stuff that works for you and discard what doesn’t.
Food for thought: What is the difference between a story and a string of events?
Now you have a plan on how you’d be writing but what should you be writing? What kind of story and genre?
See you next time!