Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Mental Snack (23)


Share your thoughts...
"It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does."
~ William Faulkner

What do you rely on, dear reader? When you write or read, are you more interested in the plot or the characters? If you are a writer, are you plotter or a pantser?

Plotter: You outline everything about your book. Character traits, how scenes take their course, and you know the end as soon as soon as you begin to write.

Pantser: You write and don't outline or plot anything. You just follow your characters or the plot and let them lead you.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

"he"... ur so sexist vatche.... r u saying women cant be main characters?


-Rafi

Rachel said...

I think I'm a Plontser - somewhere between the two! ;)

I tend to think I know where I'm going, but the characters often lead me astray ...

Vatche said...

Rafi, I didn't say that, William Faulkner did.

Plus, I'm not a sexist at all. I actually write both women AND male characters for my stories. So, one does not overwhelm the other.

So...:P

Vatche said...

Hey, Rachel. I like your word for it, a Plontser, the medium between the two.

I agree that I also tend to know what's coming ahead, but the characters often want to take their own paths, so I follow their leads.

Write on!

Anonymous said...

by quoting his words, u take responsibility for the meaning and ideas behind them. hes a sexist, so ur a sexist

-Rafi

Nicole MacDonald said...

I'm with Rachel - a plontser. I always have main 'points' along the way that I have to meet but the getting there is panster :)

Vatche said...

Rafi...by quoting his words, I try to start a discussion, it doesn't mean I 100% agree with him or his ideas. I'm not a sexist, though I think he might have been one. I'll research the topic and let you know though.

:P

Vatche said...

Hey, Nicole! So you're a plontser, as well! I think I might be one, too, since I know some of the main points or main scenes in the story, but I'm also a pantser on getting to those scenes. :D

Write on, plontsers!

Amanda Sablan said...

A little of everything for me. I focus just as much on plot as characters, and I outline some things while leaving some up to chance.

Owning the Words said...

As a reader, both plot and characters are integral. What kills a book for me is great plot but awful, uninteresting characters and of course vice versa. As a writer, I guess I am a Pantser this is why I prefer writing flash fiction or shorts because I am too darn impatient to plan or outline. I mean I plan a general plot but overall I let the story unfold as I type. Sometimes the end comes before the beginning or middle.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm pretty much a pantster and for me it's all about the characters. :)

The Words Crafter said...

Hey Vatche! I think I'm more of a panster and turn into a plonster at a later point. When I read, I read the first time for the story. The second, for the underlying themes...like the Faulkner quote, btw. :P

Vicki Rocho said...

In true Libra fashion, I'm a little of both! I started to outline my book, but that quickly turned into writing, so I gave up the outline and just ran with it.

Tsionah N said...

I would say I am in the middle. And I liked the quote... If we were to believe 100% what everyone else did there would be no discussion.

Vatche said...

Hey, Amanda! That's interesting that you have a sort of balance between the two of plotting out something and leaving it to the characters to decide where to go.

I tend to focus more on characters and their interactions with one another, because I believe that they will move the plot forward. At least, that's my opinion.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Hello, Owning the Words! I agree that as a reader, a writer must have both an interesting plot and great characters. If the book didn't have those, then it wouldn't be a fine read.

It's cool that you write fiction that tends to be short. I think I'm more of pantser than a plotter, but I tend to write longer than when I plot it out.

As for knowing the end of a story before the beginning or the end, I think there was a writer once who said that he knew all the endings to his novels before he started writing, he just didn't know how to start them. I can't recall the writer's name right now, but if I ever remember, I'll be sure to give you his name.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Aloha (I got tired of the usual greetings), Jemi!

I'm not a pure pantser, but if I were to push myself into one category it will definitely be the pantsers. As for it all being about the characters, I tend to actually focus on the characters more than the plot.

However, the plot has to be interesting to grab a reader, because like Owning the words said, "What kills a book for me is great plot but awful, uninteresting characters and of course vice versa." So, think about some of the plot, as well.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Ola (I got tired of the usual greetings so I'm switching it up a bit.),The Words Crafter! I'm glad you enjoyed the quote.

That is an intriguing take on the idea of being a plotter or a pantser, which is how you turn into a plotter last minute.

However, I think we can all admit that we change some of the story during revisions and plot them out, because we want the story not to have any plot-holes or anything like that. So, you're not alone on that!

Write on!

Vatche said...

Konnichiha, ("Hello" in Japanese. I don't know if you're a Japanese, but just roll with it! I'm just switching up my greetings with people.) Vicki!

It's funny how things turn out that way with a book being all planned out, but as soon as you start and nothing going according to the plot you originally planned. Life is the same way, I believe. You plan out for some giant event and nothing goes according to plan sometimes; you just got to roll with it.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Hey, Tsionah! I agree that if you 100% blindly obey anything, there would be no such thing as discussions, but we don't blindly obey things. We think about them. Form our opinions. Listen to the other side of the story. Reform our opinions, time and again. That's what a discussion does.

Anyway, as for being in the middle, I believe some would agree with you, all you have to do is scroll up! :)

Write on and question everything!

Carolyn V. said...

I am a plotter. I've done both, but I love the plotting. =) Also, I'm more character driven.

Imola said...

Hm...an interesting issue...to plot or not to plot? Well, in Hamlet's manner, I should say plot, that way there are no unknown elements, no chances of going off track...yet..' 'tis nobler in the mind to take arms' against plotting and be spontaneous? Hamlet was too good at hesitating and ended up being anything but spontaneous (in that he let himself go with the flow of events...)

Debatable; I suppose that one decides each time what to do...that there are no universal decisions...

Vatche said...

Hey, Carolyn! It's cool that you've experimented with both ways and seeing which one fits your taste and helps bring the most results out of your story. As for plotting, I can't really bring myself to plot, because I feel that plotting and outlining can limit my story and where I can take it. At least, that is my opinion.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Very interesting take on it, Imola.

As in comparison to Hamlet, you debate whether to plot or not to plot. I agree with you that Hamlet was too good at hesitating and ended up being anything but spontaneous. The result for taking this route, led to the death of his friends, his family, and himself.

The subject matter is debatable and that is why I put it up here for discussion. The reason for a mental snack is to stir up debate and that is what I do every week.

You are right, we always decide each time what to do and there are no universal decisions that we take with our stories. We always choose carefully the next step in the process.

Write on!

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