Two Writers Debate: Pantsing vs. Plotting

Eric John Baker (R) and me, clearly hoping to win this thing by sheer force of smugness.

Eric John Baker (R) and me, clearly hoping to win this thing by sheer force of smugness.

Only two approaches to writing exist: Good and Bad. Write good. Debate over!

Hold on a sec. That’s not what this post is about. This post is a point-counterpoint between two WordPress bloggers arguing the merits of two distinct writing methods, pantsing (freeform writing) and plotting (writing from an outline).

Read on as right-brained, right-coast writer Eric John Baker argues in favor of pantsing (at least we hope that’s what happens… he is making it up as he goes, after all), followed by left-brained, left-coast writer Janna G. Noelle making a case for plotting, probably with all kinds of charts and graphs and stuff.

No matter how ugly and violent it gets, they promise to return you home in time for tea and biscuits!

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Taking Over Me: On writing, obsession, and the search for artistic balance

Singer Amy Lee of the alternative rock/metal band Evanescence, from whose song the title for this week’s post is borrowed.  There’s something about the grammatical weirdness of the song’s name – the fact that, in ending with the subject “me”, it serves to emphasizes it – that really resonates with my experiences in this subject.

Amy Lee of the alt rock/metal band Evanescence, whose song I borrowed for the title of this post.

When a writer becomes utterly fixated on his/her WIP, is that a sign of artistic revelation or that s/he has become a less well-rounded person?

I’ve twice had it happen where writing has taken over my life, the first time being back in 2004 when I was writing my first (incomplete, shelved) novel, and the second in 2005 when I wrote the first volume of my two-volume historical fiction WIP.

In 2005 especially, I fully gave myself over to my writing.

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The Answer to an Even Bigger Question

Rule of Engagement 3.2

I love numbers.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not some sort of mathematician.  I’m not even all that adept at numerical manipulation: in restaurants, like many, I struggle to calculate my portion of a group bill, and to also figure out an appropriate gratuity, and somewhat typical of my generation, I generally can’t perform long division in my head unlike the many people of my parents’ generation who can.

Still, though, numbers hold a place in my heart, or at least, the idea of numbers does, as does what they represent.  For in numbers, I see a concrete means of comparing two or more different states of being: how something is to how it could or should be; how something is to how it was previously; where something started and where it ends.

In short, numbers can be used to monitor change and – more importantly – progress.

And what writer isn’t interested in that?

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The First Rule of Engagement, or “How Routine Can Work Wonders for Artists”

You didn’t think The Rules of Engagement was just a name I gave this blog to make it sound kickass, did you?

Anyone who knows me (which, admittedly, not many do yet by way of this blog, but perhaps, in time, that will change) knows that I love rules.  Seriously.  Someone actually accused me once of taking the proverbial “rule book” to bed with me at night.  It’s hardly something I can deny; I did already out myself on my “About” tab as being fairly left-brained, rational, and rigid, and to quote (or misquote) Popeye, “I am what I am”.  But my love of rules is not because I lack sufficient imagination or ability to think for myself, but rather, I find that when the structure and consistency that rules promote is in place, creativity and imagination are able to flourish.

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