Monday, April 3, 2017

Epic World Building

This semester, my Creative Writing class and I have been discussing the differences between Plotters and Pantzers. Plotters do tons of outlining, character bibles, notecard arranging, story charting... Sometimes they do all of that before they even begin chapter one... And sometimes that Plotting happens in stages.

Pantzers write by the seat of their pants, and they discover the story and characters along the way. Sometimes the author has a destination in mind; sometimes they just follow where the characters take them.

More and more, I enjoy being a Pantzer. I wasn't always that way. When I write screenplays, I had a solid outline for each project. but I don't know that it really worked well for me. After all, how many screenplays have I sold? (Answer: Zero.)

There are other terms for Plotters and Pantzsers. Ellen Hopkins spke to the class via Google Hangouts last week, and she thinks of ut as being an Architect versus being a Gardener. Great metaphors! (Leave it to Ellen to be all poetic and genius like!)

I think I'm about thirty pages into my novel. I don't know the exact page count because I have been typing most of it on my Ipad. (Don't worry, I've been emailing each chaoter to myself as a back up.) So far, writing by the seat of my pants has paid off. but now it's time to put on my Plotter hat. I thought I would simply start by writing an outline of each of the characters in this family. I started by trying to create a character bible for a relatively minor character, the Grandmother. Outlining her character led to many other questions, relevant to the plot, and before you know it, I'm outlining some pretty cosmic and philosophic aspects of this imaginary world I'm building.

It's rather epic, actually. It makes me think of how much fun Tolkein must have had building a vast imaginary universe. Let's hope I don't get lost for too long, caught up in my own little world.

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