Plotting vs Pantsing

Hello again dear readers!

Yes, I know I missed writing week this month. Reason was, you know: LIFE.

So on another note, As I’ve been working (almost) diligently on my fantasy novel I’ve been thinking about story structure.

After doing a (very) little research I’ve discovered writers generally fall into one of two categories: Plotters or Pantsers.
“So Plotters plot and Pantsers… uh, pants?”
Kinda.
I am going to give my definitions for these terms for you as best I can.

PLOTTERS: Plotters are writers that sit down and nut out the intricate details of their story. They figure out the details for their Characters, where they want the story to go, when and where everything is supposed to happen. They are the type of people that will plan the plot-line for the whole series of books they are going to write before even typing the title of: CHAPTER ONE.

PANTSERS: Pantsers are people who prefer to write “by the seat of their pants”. They prefer to find out what happens in their story as they write it, letting the creativity take over and watch as the story comes to life before their very eyes.

Lets do some pros and cons shall we?

PLOTTING –

PROS:
-Gives the story direction
-Writer knows where to take the characters
-Enables “epics” to be interwoven books in a series that live up to every promise, prophesy and plot-line in any one book

CONS:
-Somewhat constrained creativity
-Can become disinteresting to write as the writer knows everything and may not be as excited to follow through with the finishes of the story

PANTSING –

PROS:
-Allows for characters to reveal their personality as they react to different situations
– Allows for creativity to run rampant and produce a story in which even the author is surprised by

CONS:
-Can lack direction
-Relies on having a creative “good day” to go anywhere
-Ungrounded creativity can lead to a messy, out-there plot-line that doesn’t always make sense
-Plot-holes and unanswered questions.

Now before any dedicated plotters/ pantsers eat me alive, these are just some points that come to mind that MAY apply to writers of either category. You may be a brilliantly creative plotter or a very detailed pantser, but hear me out on this next point.

WHY NOT BE A BIT OF BOTH?

Gasp!

I know write? (intentional word pun)
Here’s what I’ve discovered in life: CATEGORIES CRAMP MY STYLE

So in conclusion, here’s how I’ve gone about writing this novel.
I began with a vague idea that I couldn’t stop thinking about and began developing an internal world that I’m sure will lead to my eventual insanity (see my previous post Fiction Writers Are Insane).
I then sat down and began to write this story for Chapter One. I ended up re-writing the thing several times as the world progressed in my mind, names for things changed and the plot began to reveal itself to me.
Recently I figured I had enough ‘revealation’ of the story to sit down and plot it out to give myself some direction.

The story is still developing and I will allow myself to make changes to the plot as I discover where the story is going, but I’m aiming my creative beast in a direction I want it to go and allowing it to devastate anything in it’s path – HOPEFULLY IN A POSITIVE WAY.


Well back to writing for me (and checking out all the iOS 8 updates of coarse)
Until next time, Anti-Greetings.
D. Rhys Graham

Summary Sunday #1 – What have I done?!

Happy Summary Sunday dear readers! And thank you for all those that read the whole way through the week.

The aim of Summary Sunday was to see if I could fuse the weeks writing into the cleanest, coagulated, bloody mess possible. Yeah still not sure about the clean factor, But I’ll give it my best shot.

Now I have a problem: How do you combine all these topics, themes and genres… even timeframes together?!
The Answer: Creative licence. And I’ve applied my forms, submitted my soul and signed in a blood soaked quill tip. Wish me luck!

As always comments and feedback are apreicated. Enjoy!

The End

Science has come along way these past few centuries. We found a cure to death. Well, I say we, I really mean they. I was in the next room, studying the absurd. A theory that I could distort and control the binding chains of gravity. We had done it before “Most people laughed at the thought of what we call a plane, that was 1903… it’s 2861!” was my favourite excuse for continuing my futile search.

But it was neither this cure or my futile research that had me concerned. Frederick Johnson from the astrology room next door had had sightings of what many believed imposible: Alien life. Threatening, dominating, alien life. From what seen, these were warships, which to me was a bad sign.

Frederick was chosen as a representative for the science division for the World Alliance Conference. And because of my previously less futile and award winning research, I was assigned to accompany him.

The meeting was in the next town, a short trek through a forrest. A trek I had never taken, and a trek I would wish I had never taken.

*****

“The howling is unsettling.” I mutter to myself. I would have discussed this with my companion Frederick, if he were still alive. “Probably just the wind… I hope it’s just the wind.”
Oaks and pines swayed un-rhythmically, unsure of which direction the wind wanted them to lean. Odd scents carried by the air mingled into a rotten musk, mostly wet wood and fermenting fruit.
“The path is coming up. I’m sure this time.” The truth was I’d lost the path days ago, Frederick had lost his life because of it. No time for guilt. I’ll mourn when I’m safe.
Moss-covered roots obscured my journey, high and thick they walled in my strength. I’d dropped my pack on the second day, we’d eaten too quickly, and since then I’d only eaten the odd berry that didn’t look too poisonous.
Where am I going again? I wondered. “Out of this cursed wood!” I yelled, trying to conjure up some courage.
Something responded. A deep lonely call. Not as shrill as a wolf, more like a groaning. Could be a bear… Or worse.
I picked up the pace.
I stumbled on a root, or maybe it hit me, I couldn’t tell. I didn’t care. I needed to run.
The groan came again. Closer than before.
And ran faster, my foot struck something. I looked down, That root defiantly moved.
I followed the root back to it’s tree with my eyes and found another pair staring back at me. The bark rippled and pulsed, enumerating and dark and evil power. A dryad. A myth. A threat.
I grit my teeth and push myself off the ground, I wasn’t dying here.
Mid-leap I heard a whistle, something hit and sharp had hit me in the base of the skull. I reached behind me to check for blood, I pulled out a dart.
A dart?
I went dark.

*****
I’ve been in here for hours.
The shack was cold, wet and damp. To say it was uncomfortable would be like saying an inferno is warm. There weren’t any lights, and the smell of stagnant water and algae blooms filled my nostrils.

“Hello?!” I called again. It was all I could do, I was tied to a chair with an old rope that made my skin itch and burn as I moved.

Wood creaked, moaning as the wind pushed against it and the earth bellow shifted. The shack couldn’t be that large, only a few feet in each direction from where I was bound I had guessed.

Why am I here? Where was I last?

I couldn’t remember, but my situation looked grim to say the least.

The chill began to leave my bones.

Morning is coming. The thought brought some hope, though I couldn’t decide why. Perhaps it would mean I could see my surroundings, not that being able to see would save me. I don’t think I’ve missed the sense of sight more in any time in my life.

Day break came, dim light filtered through the cracks between wooden planks. The shack was as I had envisioned it: bare. There was nothing unique or different about this isolated wooden room, and that’s what scared me.

I tried screaming for help again, allowing my voice to grow louder and louder in volume until the shack shook. The vibration frightened me, I stopped and allowed the silence to fill me again.

That’s when I heard it. scratch I listened carefully. scratch scamper scratch

“Hello?” I called desperately hoping someone had found me, but I knew within myself that this was not someone as much as something.

scamper scratch scratch scamperThe noises were getting louder, and more frequent. They scared me.

scamper scratch scratch scamper I saw something move, or maybe a few somethings move. scamper scratch scratch scamper “Bugs!” I exclaimed aloud as I realized what the intruders were.

I was relieved, for a moment. Until hundred of them covered the walls, all coming out of the woodwork at the same time. They crawled over each other, their sizes and shapes blurring into one mass of convoluting life.

The noise was unbearable, akin to the intensity of a waterfall, but sharp and grinding.

What if they don’t stay on the walls? I wondered too late as a blanket of exoskeletal creatures fell upon and covered me. The crawled all over me and I tried to scream, bad idea: they got in my mouth.

I thrashed about on my chair as the insects covered every part of me, threatening to smother me whilst trying to get inside me.

The chair toppled, my head hit the floor, and there was no bugs.

I heard a hissing and looked up expecting to be attacked by reptiles, but instead saw a black pipe. It was emitting an odd smelling gas.

Hallucinogenics? I slipped into unconsciousness.

*****

When I came to I wished I hadn’t. My head hurt, and on top of that I was watching beams of charged plasma course through the atmosphere and hit the earth. Something else fell from the sky and caught my attention, It looked like a flying navy ship crossed with a lizzard.

The ship landed close to me. I stumbled over to it, still feeling groggy. A hatch hissed and popped open, revealing a half dead pilot, a half dead alien pilot.
“What are you?’ I managed after a few moments of stunned silence.
“Varrillian.” It hissed. It’s entire body hissed, and burst into flame and sparks.
I’m next.
I was right. For a moment, I was aware of everything and felt nothing. The ground cracked below me, the lake next to me fizzled and it’s inhabitants rose to the surface before evaporating. The shack creaked a few feet off, but otherwise didn’t budge. Suborn. A metal sign that read: Sand Creek, Colorado began to melt.
Then I felt everything and was aware of nothing else besides my unbearable pain and agony. It only lasted a moment though, and then it was over.

It was all over.

And there we have it!
I completed my week of writng! Woot!
Success!

Stay Tuned, Anti-Greetings
D. Rhys Graham

Sojourn Saturday #1 – The Woods

Happy Sojourn Saturday!

Here’s the final short story before tomorrow’s compilation

The Woods

“The howling is unsettling.” I mutter to myself. I would have discussed this with my companion, if they were still alive. “Probably just the wind… I hope it’s just the wind.”
Oaks and pines swayed un-rhythmically, unsure of which direction the wind wanted them to lean. Odd scents carried by the air mingled into a rotten musk, mostly wet wood and fermenting fruit.
“The path is coming up. I’m sure this time.” The truth was I’d lost the path days ago, my companion had lost his life because of it. No time for guilt. I’ll mourn when I’m safe.
Moss-covered roots obscured my journey, high and thick they walled in my strength. I’d dropped my pack on the second day, we’d eaten too quickly, and since then I’d only eaten the odd berry that didn’t look too poisonous.
Where am I going again? I wondered. “Out of this cursed wood!” I yelled, trying to conjure up some courage.
Something responded. A deep lonely call. Not as shrill as a wolf, more like a groaning. Could be a bear… Or worse.
I picked up the pace.
I stumbled on a root, or maybe it hit me, I couldn’t tell. I didn’t care. I needed to run.
The groan came again. Closer than before.
And ran faster, my foot struck something.
I grit my teeth and push myself off the ground, I wasn’t dying here.
Mid-leap I heard a whistle, something hit and sharp had hit me in the base of the skull. I reached behind me to check for blood, I pulled out a dart.
A dart?
I went dark.

IMG_1115.JPG

Fantasy Friday #1 – Dryad

Woot! Happy Fantasy Friday!

So back to my preferred style of writing: Story telling. Not that I don’t enjoy coming up with theories, themes and so on, but I feel as if they belong in a notebook, not on a Blog.

The following is actually an excerpt from the story I’m writing at the moment, so context may be lacking here, but I don’t think that it affects this scene too much (it was more of an inspired scene from the imagination gods if you know what I mean).

And so, dear reader, enjoy. Comments and feedback apriciated.

Dryad

“Maolyn the Great! Closer of the inter-dimensional Rift between Arion and Pyre! A king among mages! A god among mortals!” Renatus exclaimed without any tones of excitement. “I am his son, Renatus the Failure!” he kicked at a stone and sent it spiralling into a tree, embedding it into the bark. He walked over to the tree. It was a proudsman tree. They grew straight up, their roots dived straight down, but their trunks were too soft for building. Flowers the size of a trolls head were open above, despite the fact that it was night time.
Renatus bent down and pulled the stone from the bark, “Sorry.” he mumbled.
Sap filled the hole as soon as the stone was removed, bleeding out of the trunk and onto the mulch bellow. The speed of the sap surprised Renatus, he only realised something was wrong when the sap sprung at his eyes like needles. He brought up his hand in front of his face to shield himself, a series of pangs jolted his arm as shards embedded themselves in his arm.
“I said sorry!” Renatus gritted his teeth. Bloody Dryads.
A face formed from the knots in the bark, holes sinking into dark pits. “That was painful, Mortal.” The voice was shill and almost musical. Renatus guested it was female.
“As was that attack of yours!” Renatus tried to compose himself. Dryads were known to hold grudges, and to spread rumours throughout an entire forest in a single night. The last thing Renatus needed was the forest to hate him.
“An attack on a sleeping Dryad is considered cowardice, mortal. And cowardice is considered undesirable. If I were to decide you were undesirable, you would die, mortal.”
Renatus knelt on one knee, “Forgive me, Dryad of the proudsman tree, it was my clumsiness that awoke you, not an attack I assure you.”
The Dryad seemed to study him, assessing his words, reading his expressions. “A deal then.”
“What?”
“A deal.” the Dryad repeated dryly. “I will forget that you harmed me, and you shall give me something.”
Renatus considered his options. Be hated by all nature, or make a deal with a Dryad. “First tell me what you want, then I’ll decide.”
“A drop of your blood.”
Renatus grunted, “You could take blood from my corpse, why would you ask for a mere drop?”
“Sap and blood, nature and mortal, life tied to life, anew is born. Such must be consented of both Dryad and Mankind.”
Renatus scratched his head, unsure of what the Dryad’s riddle meant. But if it meant escaping this ordeal, he would give a drop of blood freely. “Alright Dryad, it’s a deal.”
The knotted face soothed some, becoming a softer, female expression. Her face was angular, sharp cheek bones and jaw line. Her nose a small lump in the middle of her face and what was before gnarled teeth, were now a gentle crease in the bark, imitating lips.
“My name is Lunair, Dryad of a proudsman tree.” Lunair’s voice had lost it’s harshness, the sentence sounding lyrical. “What are you called?”
“Renatus, Son of Maolyn.” he answered, unsure of why such a thing was necessary.
The proudsman tree’s branches swayed with excitement, “Renatus Maolynsson, do you give of your blood willingly to me?”
Renatus shrugged, stepping forward with his already bloodied arm, still with needle-like sap sticking out. “Sure.”
And with a giddy laugh, the sap pulled itself out of Renatus’s arm, carrying back more than a little blood. It leapt from his arm back into the hole that had been created, which scabbed over with sap instantly.
“Our deal pleases me.” Lunair smiled a beautiful, deadly smile. “Return here when I call you Renatus Maolynsson, and do not keep me waiting.” With that, the face disappeared, and Renatus felt like he could breathe again. He arm had numbed, and his mind can clouded over.
“And now to bed.” he mumbled, before collapsing once again. His energy was sapped.
Perhaps I’ve lost too much blood today. he mused as he let the darkness of sleep envelop him.


Stay tuned and until next time, Anti-Greetings
D. Rhys Graham

Theory Thursday #1 – Gravity¿ An unseen law

Good morning and a pleasant Theory Thursday to you!

As you may have guessed, today I shall write about a theory I’ve come up with. Now this theory is obviously being written by an aspiring fantasy/paranormal author. In light of this – suffice to say it won’t be boring.

This was actually a theme for a book that I was going to write (called Unseen Laws) until I figured out that books need more than an interesting theme running through it to be good (or even written for that matter).

And now I will attempt to kill physics! Wish me luck, and enjoy.

Gravity¿ an unseen law

What is gravity? The definition of the word is:
physics the force that attracts a body towards the centre of the earth, or towards any other physical body having mass.

My theory, is that this force called gravity is in fact unseen chains fastened to every physical body. The other end of these chains are tied to other objects, called anchors.

On Earth, the anchor is the earths core. It’s large enough to anchor every chain tied to every person and object.

In the solar systems, this plays out on a larger scale, having moon and asteroids tethered to their respective planets, and planets to stars.

In theory, one could loose themselves of these chains or even free themselves of them – albeit for a short time. These chains are in fact necessary, lest we should drift from our world and brave the dark expanse of space beyond. In view of this necessity, we can assume that if we rid ourself from of chains, new ones would seek us out.

One might adjust the positioning if their unseen chains from the soles of their feet to around their fists, and so packing a punch with the fierce force of nature behind it.

If one could somehow have mastery over these chains, they could rule the entire planet – and more. Everyone and everything with mass would become pawns to be moved to that person. They could hold the world hostage and have everything they seek.

A more selfless being could use the gift to contribute to the worlds grow and development.

It could also bring about some really awesome gravity altering fight scenes… I love writing fight scenes.


Work on breaking those chains
Until next time, Anti-Greetings
D. Rhys Graham

World Altering Wednesday #1 – No Death

Happy World Altering Wednesday!

I realised as I was writing this that it’s similar to Theory Thursday in that by changing something about the world, you create a new theory and challenge all existing rules in the world.

Also it isn’t a short story as much as a brainstorm think session, but it still achieves my goal of growing my writing skills, so I hope that’s acceptable to you dear reader.

So here it is, as always enjoy and feedback/ comments are appreciated.

No Death

What if there was no death? If every living creature could not and would not die?

The reader’s first thought could be one of hope, they could think of those they have lost and imagined what it would be like never to have lost them and that they would never loose anyone else ever again.

But if we think deeper into the reason for death, we will discover that life is richer because of death. Death increases the quality of life, we treasure it more when we realise that it is limited.

Multiple aspects of reality would be altered, and I will attempt to write upon some of those aspects:

Food: If there is no death, there is no meat. No beef, no chicken, no turkey, no fish and heaven forbid NO BACON! If no creature could die, we would not be able to enjoy these meats (for those of us that eat meat). But if there was no death, one could argue that we wouldn’t need to eat at all. We would eat simply for enjoyments sake, not for survival or energy.

Population: If there was no death, and assuming that life continued and reproduction continued as normal, we would be over populated in no time. If we consider that this is already a problem in some places and in those countries often large ‘slums’ are formed, how long would it take before the whole world becomes like that? How much of our limited materials could we use to house and accommodate our unlimited population?

Animals: And that doesn’t just go for humans. Animals would continue to populate the earth, competing for room on our planet. Now predators and carnivores wouldn’t need to kill to eat anymore, in fact they wouldn’t need to eat at all, and unlike humans, they don’t eat for pleasure but rather to survive. They may still be dangerous to us in the respect that claws and fangs would still cause us pain and damage without being lethal.

Economy: Now I’m no economist, but I’m pretty sure that taking away products and services that we require to survive will effect our economic system. The money system itself may even need to be rethought to accommodate for the surplus in population.

Motivation: The will to live and to leave a mark on the world that will last longer than a single lifetime is what has caused many to strive for excellence and achievement. Take away the fact that would will cease to exist in the plane of reality and you will take away the motivation of the masses. Some brilliant minds may take longevity as the perfect tool to accomplish massive projects, but how long will they be inspired for?

And to conclude and summarise, quality of life would be lesser if we could live forever, hence: the need for death.


Stay Tuned for Theory Thursday, hopefully posted before the day is out 🙂
Anti-Greetings
D. Rhys Graham

Tantamount Tuesday #1 – Settlers and Slaughter

Good evening! And a good Tantamount Tuesday to you!

I will start by giving a/my definition of tantamount: the same as, equivalent in value to.

Some of this story required some research, hence the later post (that and my full time job), but hopefully the details will make the story more believable (even though I found the information fairly shocking).

Also, the way this is written has been an idea of mine for a while, but there is far too much work involved to make it a full sized novel, so this was the perfect excuse to try it! Enjoy.

Settlers and Slaughter

1861
The dry wind blew at John Chivington’s back. He stood on a rocky over-look above a lush plain. Bison grazed as herds below, fat from the plentiful nutrients in the soil.
We need this land. John thought, It’s plentiful, bountiful and it will make us rich.

2861
Vasseth gripped the onyx armrest of his command station. He was at the head of his battleship, surveying the green and blue planet they were orbiting.
“The Emperor informed me of the minerals here.” Jassid, his general hissed. His reptilian tongue tracing the fangs protruding from his jaw. “And the liquid.”
“Indeed.” Vasseth replied dryly.
“This conquest will bring you much glory, my prince.”
“Indeed.”

1861
“Colonel!” I have… a message… from John Evans.” A slim man barely in his twenties bent over to catch his breath.
“Out with it boy.” John downed a mouthful of whiskey. He found the rest of his troop to be gathering around to listen in.
“Everything is in place.” The messenger straightened, seeming to have recovered, “The treaty was successful, and Black Kettle along with his followers have moved to camp near Fort Lyon to hunt and settle.”
“And?” John’s wrinkled face twisted into a grin.
“And to continue as planned, imeidately.”

2861
“My prince!”
Vasseth stood and turned to face the kneeling communications officer, “Report.”
“The Emperor wishes to speak with you.”
“Do not keep my father waiting, bring him up.” Vasseth snapped. His anticipation had taken hold of him, as well as his Varrillian bloodlust.
Blue crystal shards hovered in the space before Vasseth, shifting and grinding against each other until the formed the familiar, scaled face of Emperor Furrian. “Vasseth.”
“Glory to Varrillia!” Vasseth knelt before his father, grinding his fangs as he bowed his head.
“Rise my son, this is a glorious day for you.”
A test. “It is a glorious day for Varrillia and for my emporer.”
“Indeed.” Furrian bore his fangs and hissed to remind his son he was still his superior.
Vasseth remained kneeling, Furrian could wait. “What are my orders?”
“Anihilate.”

1861
John lead his troop casually to the Cheyenne camp. They had a peace treaty, and they maintained a trading relationship. There was no need to expect violance.
Once the troop were in the middle of the camp, John nodded to his lieutenant. He and a third of the group wove their way through the camp to the perimentre.
“Why are you here?” A tattooed and bare chested elder stood before John.
“I want to speak with Black Kettle, he and you with him have breached the treaty. he responded.
“You invade our land, but we make peace with you. There is no problem.” The elder gripped his staff, his knuckles whitening.
“Where is Black Kettle?”
“The Chieftain hunts.”
John looked around at the camp, other Cheyenne’s had gathered to watch events play out. More than half of them were women and children. His troop were all gripping their rifles, ready.
“That’s a shame.” And with that John pushed the bayonet of his rifle through the elders gut and pulled the trigger, the bullet ripping through what was left of the mans flesh, out through his back and lodged itself in a man behind him. He ripped his gun free and began to reload. “Kill the savages!”

2861
Vasseth stood, the communication with his father terminated, crystal shards falling to the floor. “Open a link to the planet.”
“It is done.”
An image on a flat screen replaced Vasseth’s view of the planet below.
“Greetings on behalf of Earth, may we humans be the first to extend a hand of friendship.” The soft creatures looked frail, light skin that was not scaled like a Varrillian’s, closer to the texture of Asteroid Worm.
Vasseth attempted to mimic the shape the humans were making with their mouths and round fangs. By the reaction of the humans, he didn’t do very well. “I am Vasseth, of the Varrillians. I will accept your hand of friendship when you weapons are disabled.” This worried the humans. Especially the one in green. Military.
“Surely you don’t expect us to do that!” he exclaimed.
“Surely,” Vasseth hissed, “You realise that you have ended this peace talk.”
“Forgive my friend, it was a missunderstanding!” The central human stood up abruptly.
“That was foolish.” Vasseth turned to his general, “Fire the charged plasma cannon.” he grunted in response.
The decorated man in green glowered, his skin turning crimson, “Fire the warheads!”

1861
At the sound of the fired shot, all hell broke loose. Rifles and pistols joined the chorus, knives were pulled and blood was spilt. The troops at the edges of the camp ensured no one escaped, while the rest killed every savage in the camp.
By the time silence settled over the camp, 148 of Black Kettle’s followers had been slaughtered, only nine of Johns troop had been killed.
John walked through the bloody carnage, drinking from his flask of whiskey to numb to guilt creeping up his gut.
His lieutenant approached him, “What are our orders sir?”
John wiped the blood from his knife, “Cut up the bodies, set the whole camp alight.”

2861
The charged plasma beams tore through the earth, each ship of the Varrillian fleet firing at key locations on the planet; ensuring the ripples of destruction would travel through every electrical and liquid body on the planet.
There wasn’t a single creature or even piece of technology that would survive.
“Damage report!”
“The humans destroyed a scout ship with their warheads, nine Varrillians were on board.”
“Send the news to their spawn, they have brought glory to their bloodline.”
“Yes my prince.”
“Scan for life.” Vasseth knew what the results would be, but procedure required it of him. “We have minerals to harvest.”

—–

Wow one minute to midnight when I finished this! Technically still Tuesday!
Thanks for reading, feedback welcome, I’m going to bed.

Until next time, Anti-Greetings!
-D. Rhys Graham