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

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Fiction Writers Are Insane

Hello dear readers and welcome to a fun topic: The Insanity of Fiction Writers.

Now I’m not talking about those wearing straight jackets in Asylums who actually have a medical condition. I’m talking about the mind of a writer.

Every writer (specifically of fiction) is mad to some degree.
I didn’t have to think about this for very long before a few reasons came to mind.

The God Complex.

Often the villain in books or movies can have what is called a god complex. It basically means that they need to feel in control of everything, and that all things must conform to their will – or die.

For an author (or writer), they have the ability to create and shape a world in their mind. They decide the history of the world, the laws, the physics, the characters, the creatures everything. They then proceed to create a story within this world, every decision is made in accordance with their will.

The Killer

It is commonly known that someone who has killed another person, whether willingly or unwillingly, will endure phycological pain. They will experience guilt, remorse, and a multitude of other emotions I’m sure.

For writers that need to kill off characters in their story for the sake of the story line, they themselves orchestrate the deaths of characters they have in a sense mentally given birth to. That messes with the mind.

The Internal World

As previously mentioned, when a writer creates a story, they have to create a setting. This world (and often more than just one world) then becomes a part of them. A place where they can either escape, or be captured and consumed by.


But hey, if madness inspires brilliance, I shall embrace it.
Until next time, Anti-Greetings
D. Rhys Graham

Another Writing Schedule!

I Have Decided!

Good morning (for those of us who are enduring a Monday Morning) dear readers (you)!

In summary of last week and my findings, I really enjoyed it. The writing exercises were great, some of the writing was fairly decent for what it was and overall it was an enjoyable experience.

Unfortunately though, I did absolute ZILCH writing on my actual book. Which leaves me fairly melancholy, considering I would actually like to publish it someday, but it needs to be written first *GASP*!

So in light of this, Ice decided that I will attempt to do a writing week every month, starting from the first Monday of that month. The schedule will come out before the week begins and may vary from week to week, but the overarching goal will remain: WRITE GOOD STUFF.

So there we go! I hope you enjoyed the week as much or more than I did.

Schedule is open to suggestions for those interested too, so if you want something written about lemme know.

Lets finish with a question for my fellow writers: under what conditions do you get most of your writing done?

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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.

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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

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