Balticon 47 Wrap up – Part 16, Plotters vs. Pantsers

by Doc Coleman on September 16, 2013 · 7 comments

in Balticon

Our last episode focused on the business of being a writer, but this episode is focused more upon the skills needed in writing. No, we’re not talking about typing skills or penmanship. What we are talking about is the techniques that different authors use in constructing their stories. This is actually an age-old debate about which method is better for plotting out and writing your first draft: creating a detailed outline, or just sitting down and writing?

Our panel, Plotters vs. Pantsers, was actually taken from the reader’s track. In fact, this panel was  so popular with Balticon panelists that the con decided to split the panelists into two groups and run the same panel twice. This recording is from the second session of Plotters vs Pantsers, recorded early on Monday, May 27th.

The panel had a very good turnout despite being held in the early morning on the last day of con. Michael A. Ventrella was our moderator for this discussion of the writing craft. The panel was filled with a variety of writers of different skill levels and styles. In no particular order the panelists were Jack Campbell (Hemry), Kat Otis, Jennifer Povey, Alex Shvartsman, Leona Wisoker, and myself. Each of us has our own particular approach to story writing, and as fortune has it, we happened to be spread out over the entire spectrum of planning.

From the most detailed, in-depth outline of a story, to the most wild discovery writing sessions that begins with an idea and runs off wherever the characters choose to take it, the result is the same: a first draft. While the first draft is important, it really takes several rounds of revision to finally polish a work to the point it is ready to publish. It doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you do a good job in finding the holes in your story and fixing them.

For someone looking into writing and trying to choose a style to lay out their stories, their best bet is to experiment with many different styles until they find what works well for their particular style.

Enjoy the show!

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