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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Author Spotlight Garrett Addison



How do I write?
I marvel at the authors who meticulously plan and plot out their stories and then put pen to paper to implement their plan.  It seems like such a logical way of writing and I appreciate how rewarding it must be to watch it all come together.  That said, despite the obvious merits of that approach … I cant bring myself to write that way.  Instead, I tend to write completely without a plan, making it up entirely as I go.  I know I’m not the only one who writes this way and I don’t know if we are in the minority, but I would like to share why writing by the seat of my pants works for me.
To me, it’s all about the freedom of writing without the constraints imposed by working to a plan.  Each time I write, I get to focus on what seems to be the most pressing element of my story.  Sometimes it’s a scene or a character, and other times it’s some dialogue.  I don’t need to write in any logical sequence or chronological order … I just need to write.  
Of course, without a plan I’m liable to be very influenced by what happens in my life.  All those little inconsequential things that go on around me when I’m not writing have a way of affecting the way I write and the story at large.  How I feel, miscellaneous stresses, real life conversations, people I meet, the weather; it all finds it’s way into my writing, sometimes in the plot, sometimes in the subtleties of character of development.  So what I think is the story at inception is never the same as the finished product. 
Sooner or later, a draft is completed and then comes the fun of giving it a fresh read.  I know it’s going to be all over the place, but it’s a start and from that read I’ll be able to see what it needs and what it doesn’t.  I accept that there will be a lot of cutting and many hours of effort will disappear with liberal use of the ‘delete’ key, or perhaps filed away for later use.  The point is that if it doesn’t belong in this story, it can’t stay in this story so it needs to go.  Re-write after re-read follows until the nature and volume of necessary changes gradually reduces to zero. 
Then it’s ripe for a few trusted first readers to give their thoughts.  My take is that all feedback my first readers give is golden and 100% correct.  If they like it, great.  If they don’t ‘get’ something or didn’t like a character or anything, it becomes a beacon to something which needs to be fixed.  I don’t argue, I just treat it as golden guidance.  Then the re-read and re-write cycle continues.
So there you have it; writing by the seat of my pants.  I don’t get the pleasure of being able to track my progress by percentages or according to my outline, but I do get to see something gradually evolve and I never get writers’ block.

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28 comments:

  1. Another great guest post! Thank you for describing so eloquently my process, too! :D

    I do have a general plan in my head when I start writing, but at some point I even caught myself describing a character's death when I had already jotted down their next moves. That's when I realised I'm not much of a planner... :D

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  2. I have the ending in mind and then work toward that point. I am a pantster through and through Very interesting Garrett. Thanks Chelsea

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    1. That's great, John.

      I hope you keep the flexibility to adapt your ending as you go too!

      Garrett

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    2. You are welcome for the post, I am so glad you have enjoyed it!

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  3. Quite interesting. The first book Anelia and I wrote was done this way, too. It complicates the process when you have multiple authors, let me tell you. Plus the fact that it WAS the first book meant we had lots to learn along the way. We do have lots of material for subsequent books, though, from all those scenes/characters/subplots that were no longer relevant to the main story.

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    1. 'Pantsing' with multiple authors would be particularly difficult, Rebecca ... I would have said 'impossible' but you've managed it! I hope you've filed away all the extra bits for later use.

      Garrett

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  4. Great post, Garrett. I write by the seat of my pants too. Once I begin, my characters take over & do their own thing. Every time I've tried to make a plan, I deviate from it.

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    1. Ah yes, when the characters take on a life of their own... I love that feeling too.

      Pantsers of the world unite, Michelle.

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  5. I am a writing by the seat of my pants kind of gal. My first book – a non-fiction was written that way. My second book didn’t have a plan of action either and my thoughts are all over the place. I definitely hired an editor to bring it all together. Thank goodness she likes my writing style and she is a former journalist for a major newspaper here in my hometown. So I feel it’s in good hands. Both books are written out of a necessity to inform and save, or teach. The first one was a breeze. The second one is a real challenge for me. I admire all the authors whose books I have had the pleasure to read thus far. Garrett you are an amazing author and I plan to add your book to my growing list of reads. Congratulations!.

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  6. Great to hear, Shirley. I just find it so liberating for the writing to able to be influenced as I go.

    Garrett

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  7. I haven't ventured into fiction so I haven't had the opportunity to write by the seat of my pants yet. I am looking forward to The Traveller Garrett. Congratulations on being in the spotlight.

    Thank you Chelsea for hosting Garrett.

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    1. ... you don't know what you're missing, Kathryn.

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    2. You are welcome for hosting, I am happy to do it! Congrats to Garrett as well!

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  8. Well, Garrett, I have to make this unanimous, because I write by the seat of my pants as well. (Pantsing... I love that expression!) I'm beginning to think that the only folks who write by the "textbook" are those who write those textbooks. Having said that, I know that there's a world of difference between writing non-fiction without a plan, and pantsing in fiction. Think I'll quit while I'm behind! Thank you for hosting, Chelsea! Nice website!

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    1. A good point, John. If I was to write non-fiction as a 'pantser' I think I'd have to describe myself as disorganised!

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    2. Any time for hosting, and thank you for visiting my blog! I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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  9. Adorable blog, Chelsea! Thanks for hosting today!

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    1. Thank you! I am so happy to do it, anytime!

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  10. Well spoken, Garrett! I also tend to write "by the seat of my pants" and have become quite acquainted with the delete key. I actually prefer to write this way because I feel that those little sneaky elements that appear out of nowhere, allow us pour a piece of our own souls into our work , making it uniquely ours. I look forward to your finished product:) I'm liking you more and more with each subsequent post you share!

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    1. Absolutely, Traci. It's all the little things that add character to your story (and surely story to your characters, too).

      Garrett

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  11. Ha, ha ... this is so funny, cos I don't ever plan -- my characters are totally in charge of what happens, I just sit in on the ride :)
    It's great following you around this week, Garrett. Very best of luck with all that you do! And enjoy your spotlight! :)
    Chelsea, thanks so much for hosting Garrett, today! :)

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    1. Love it, Harmony. I think authors need to be like Dian Fossey and just chronicle what their characters (or gorillas) are doing.

      Garrett

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    2. Thank you for coming by my blog, and I am glad you like it!

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  12. Garrett,
    Your method would drive me nuts! But I'm glad it works for you :) And I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess the 'by the seat of the pants' method is at least as popular as the planning method, if not more so :)
    Loren

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    1. ... I'm still laughing at your comment, Loren.

      I get that it's a very personal thing, and I'd be lying if said I didn't try to plan out my story, but I found that I'm liable to stare at a blank page for ages if I'm not in the headspace to write what I'm 'supposed' to be writing. My way means I can exploit the way I feel to write something ... but it does mean that I'm left with a veritable jigsaw puzzle at the end, possibly with a few pieces missing. It's all part of the fun.

      Garrett

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  13. Great post, Garrett! Thoroughly enjoying your Spotlight week! :) Chelsea, thank you so much for hosting Garrett today and showing your support. ( Hope you're feeling better!! :) )

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    1. I m happy to host, and thank you for stoping by!

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