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Planning is everything for writing

March 30, 2016

I have a general story line to follow, but I do let some of the scenes develop on their own,

Matthew Wright

One of the biggest debates I’ve seen in writing forums and blogs is ‘pantsing’ versus ‘planning’.

Wright_Hobbiton4Writing ‘by the seat of the pants’ is writing free-form – writing to see where the story goes. And it’s often advocated with huge enthusiasm – largely because it’s spontaneous. It captures the instant of creativity.

Kind of like free-form jazz, I suppose (anybody who’s seen This Is Spinal Tap will know what I am getting at).

All of which is good, but it’s not how professional writers do it. Fully ‘pantsing’ a story, for any author, is actually writing for personal entertainment, which is fine, but not if you want somebody else to read it. Like free-form jazz, it usually ends up as a kind of noodly blunge that only those creating it get anything out of.

The authors who successfully ‘pants’ a story are those who have enough experience to get the…

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