Monday, September 23, 2013
Are we there yet?
I've kind of given the impression that the idea for Realmspace hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I immediately started writing feverishly and came out with the finished product a few months later. That's not really what happened, though.
As a writer I'm what is referred to as a 'pantser', that means I write by the seat of my pants. George RR Martin is a 'pantser' although he refers to himself as a gardener. He explained his process at Worldcon 2010 as kind of being like driving from Melbourne to Perth without a map, but having a basic idea of how to get to where you want to be. Along the way you're going to encounter the occasional obstacle. At the time A Dance with Dragons was one of the obstacles. Stephen King is a 'pantser', he eschews outlining.
Now that's one of the other writer type: outliners. This is someone who actually knows where they're going before they even start, they use a map. How detailed a map can vary from person to person.
To be honest I probably fall somewhere between the two. I know where I want to go and where I want to end at, I will get there even if I do make a few detours along the way. I find writing that way gives me the freedom to change things if I really want to. Being held down to an outline (I do realise that they can change if the writer wants them to as well) would restrict me a little.
When I first started writing Realmspace it had an odd beginning, because while I knew the ending things were subject to change. After it was written I was able to polish the opening up considerably and make it fit better with the rest of the book which just started to come together as I wrote.