Writing process

Over talking the story

I’ve always said there are … two kinds of writers. There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up. I think all writers are partly architects and partly gardeners, but they tend to one side or another, and I am definitely more of a gardener.
A conversation with Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin. SMH, 2011

When you’re writing as a team talking to each other is part of the process. You talk about the story before you start writing, you talk about it while you’re writing, and once you’re done you talk about it again, looking for problems and ways to improve it.

We’re a long way into book three of LINESMAN now, and we’ve done a lot of talking so far. But we’re pantsers, too. Or, if you prefer, more gardeners than architects.

We can talk ourselves out, to the detriment of the story.

That is, we over-talk what happens.

The spontaneity that makes the story enjoyable to write dies. The writing stops. We have to backtrack and pick our way around what we know is going to happen. Sometimes we just unravel the boring bits a strand at a time and hope that by the end of the many drafts we have written, the lack of fire will have been covered.

Sometimes we have to ditch that section altogether and write a new scene.

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