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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Freewriters?

   
Author Topic: Freewriters?
JohnColgrove
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Just curious, but, how many freewriters do we have here?

*Raises hand in excitement*


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snapper
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Define 'freewriter'.

I write reviews for two ezines, neither of which offer anything but exposure. Exposure does have a value to me however. I'm confident editors like to read published comments about their magazines. Hopefully, they'll remember my name the next time one of my scripts land on their desk. Won't get me a sale but will mean something if they do.

Does that make me a 'free' writer?


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JohnColgrove
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I always like to think of freewriting as the opposite of outlining. basically you sit down and write with very little planning at all. Hope that clarifies it a little.
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Jeff Ambrose
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I'm a free writer, I suppose.

I don't need a lot. In fact, I don't want a lot. At the most, I need to understand the basic conflict by using Dwight Swain's THE LINE-UP technique.

Situation
Hero
Desire
Opponent
Threat

If I have that, I'm off and running.


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Meredith
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Freewriter, Discovery Writer, Pantser. Yep, I'm one for the most part.

I'll take a plunge on a short story with just an idea.

For a novel, I need to know the inciting incident (obviously), the central conflict, and what the climax is going to be and how it will resolve the conflict. I can make everything else up as I go along.


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Osiris
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I've tried both methods, outlining, and freewriting, and so far, I've found both methods work for me. It depends on the length of the story and the scope of the idea behind it. If it is a straightforward story, freewriting works. For the novelette sized stories I've written, I can't imagine writing them without some outlining.

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited April 15, 2011).]


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Foste
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Outliner.

All stories I attempted to free-write wait for a proper outline.


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Owasm
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I do both. However, I find you end up freewriting in spurts, even if you outline. I enjoy freewriting, but for novels, I end up writing a description for each scene before I start. That's pretty much an outline. I have the memory of a gnat, so I need to list my characters' names and draw maps and do some cultural stuff before I'm comfortable starting.

With an outline, however, once one is built, I can really pump out the prose and let the words surprise me.


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Dark Warrior
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I freewrite my short stories but my novel absolutely has to be outlined...too many things happening for my wee brain to keep track of.
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genevive42
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I hate to say it, but what I think you're talking about is the definition of a 'pantser' (go Meredith), not a free writer.

Here's the definition from Wikipedia:

quote:
Free writing — also called stream-of-consciousness writing — is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism.

My experience supports this definition.

I am a pantser/outliner half-breed myself.


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Reziac
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I'm pretty much a pantster. This sometimes produces material in more or less outline form (skeleton for stuff I know happens but no scene yet) but I don't sit down and plan anything out. It goes wherever the characters will, which often has little to do with what I'd intended. I have no control over those people at all anymore. :/


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JohnColgrove
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I don't believe anything that comes from wikipedia. They've been wrong in a lot of things I looked up. Sorry, but I need a better reference than that.
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genevive42
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I know wiki can be suspect but as I said, this supports the definition I've always known for free writing. I only used it because I thought it stated it in a clear and concise manner. But if you want more support:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/composition/brainstorm_freewrite.htm

http://www.ehow.com/facts_6783720_style-writing_.html

http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/writingexercises/ht/freewrite.htm

http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/freewrite.html

http://www.creative-healing-meditation.com/free-writing.html


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JohnColgrove
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Cool thank you. that's kind of a funky term to me (pantser) haha. You think someone would come up with a better term by now.
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genevive42
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I think we pantsers (even us half breeds) like the term too much.

It also goes along with BIC time - butt-in-chair. It's only natural that if you're applying liberal amounts of BIC that you do it by the seat of your pants.


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JohnColgrove
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that term makes me think of depantsing (is that even a word lol) someone
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LDWriter2
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quote:

I always like to think of freewriting as the opposite of outlining. basically you sit down and write with very little planning at all. Hope that clarifies it a little.


That'll be me.

From an earlier discussion or two we have had here recently I should have known what you were asking. Duh.


Outlining is something I look at with distaste mixed with a touch of terror and at the same time I go Umm, open mouth, close it, uh, hmm. I usually don't have everything lined up in my head-some of the basics but half the time, at least, I think of the specifics when I get there. Even when I think of them before I need them I usually leave something out that doesn't show up intill I start typing it out.


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Utahute72
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Yea, that's how I write and it probably shows. I probably should do more outlining.
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EVOC
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No outlines for me. It never works for me. So I guess I freewrite.
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andersonmcdonald
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Discovery writer. To the bone.
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Robert Nowall
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Hadn't heard the phrase before...me, I usually find it best to have some written-down idea of where I'm going, though occasionally it changes as I move along. The short stories that I've worked on of late had outlines of one or one-and-a-half single-spaced pages, or were so firmly fixed in my mind I could just launch into them.

The last major "freewriting" project I did was an attempt at a novel---some of you have heard me mention it before---where I got up to one hundred thousand words. I tried writing while knowing what was going on two chapters ahead. I wrote myself into a corner, where I had no idea what was going on---where I'd given my heroine too many nanotech superpowers---where said heroine was pursued by one group and allied with another, and I had no idea who either group were---and, above all, I had no idea how I was going to go from there. (Someday I might take another look at the thing---the printout's still somewhere on my desk under all the clutter.)


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snapper
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Man was I off my my interpetation.

I am freewriter all the way. Just sit and write until my muse is gone. All the outlining I do is in my head. A couple of times I wrote an entire story to fit a punchline my demented brain dreamed up. I write with the same purpose that I read, follow along to see what happens next.


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KayTi
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Another freewriter/pantser here. I really need to be a hybrid writer, with a rough outline, major events, highs, lows figured out in advance, as I am often plagued with what I fear is the "boggy middle" though that is not always borne out by readers.

But you know, there's a certain kind of excitement in sitting down at the computer, not knowing what's going to happen next as your fingers hit the keys...


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aspirit
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I am increasingly relying on outlines to strengthen my plots, because it takes less time to rework an outline than to rewrite a collection of scenes or an entire story. My outlines don't include everything that might happen, however; I try to leave room near the end to address any issues that arise during drafting. When my outline doesn't cover an intriguing new issue, I might freewrite--the stream of consciousness kind--to develop a solution. Pantsing brief passages helps me to explore how new issues might impact the plot. I guess that makes me a hybrid writer.
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Tiergan
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Yeah, I am a free writer for sure. If I have too much of the story, I am doomed from never finishing it. Already told it in my head thousand times, why put it to paper. Tis very sad actually

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LDWriter2
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quote:

Yeah, I am a free writer for sure. If I have too much of the story, I am doomed from never finishing it. Already told it in my head thousand times, why put it to paper. Tis very sad actually

Actually, in this I'm the opposite. I can retell a story in my head a thousand times and still write it. In fact sometimes I do that at work so I can remember it when I get home. Of course that isn't the whole story, I end up having to fill in background I knew but no one else would and to figure out how to describe scenes I see in my head. Plus add scenes to show something that again I knew but the reader wouldn't. In other words in can take a five minutes to go over a story in my head but more than five hours to write it.

Sometimes, esp. with novels, I only know a scene or two and have to "find" the other scenes and how they connect while writing.

I have a few stories in my head at any given time and every so often one comes to the forefront of my mind and I have to go over it again even though I know it will be a while before I can put it down on paper, or electrons. Kinda like that new Country song. I hear voices in my head, but instead of advice from my dad, grandpa etc its tales that I "hear".


[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited April 16, 2011).]


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JohnColgrove
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What's a discovery writer?
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genevive42
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A discovery writer is what everyone here seems to be using 'free writer' for.

A discovery writer is someone who sits down with an idea or sometimes just a character, but not a hard outline, and lets the story unfold as they write. They 'discover' it as they move along.

'Discovery writer' and 'pantser' are synonomous.


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JohnColgrove
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That's what I thought it ment, cool.
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MartinV
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I write whatever comes to me. Then I try to order those snippets and create an outline. The rest will come trying to fill in the blanks.
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BenM
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Both. If I outlined everything, my outline would be the novel.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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For some people, the freewritten first draft can work like an outline. They don't know what they're working with until they have something all written out.
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KayTi
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Just to offer more perspective on work styles, I freewrite what ends up being a pretty close final draft. My revision rounds are around fixing inconsistencies, adding in a detail early on that I ended up wanting/using later, adding a very few scenes to set up things I do later in the story, and the various typical edits for language, style, clarity, and mistakes (I sometimes don't settle on a name until a few chapters in, so there's sometimes some cleanup related to that.)

While not all freewriters/pantsers/discovery writers do this, I just wanted to offer another perspective. From my point of view, outlining actually adds quite a lot of time to my writing process, which is why I think I'm so hesitant to do it. I very rarely find myself chucking big parts of a story, which I've heard many others who write the way I do find themselves doing as they axe a subplot or don't like a particular scene or chapter. I find that as I write, I can't really conceive of doing that sort of thing - it would take the life right out of what I've put down on paper.

Every writer is different, just wanted to offer some further perspective in case some reading this were getting the idea that freewriters end up doing loads of revision rounds. I find I do two solid runs - one to fill in holes/find inconsistencies/add in the details I made notes on (I always keep a notes file for stuff to check for, things to add in to support the direction I went with later chapters, etc.) - the second revision round is cleanup/fine tune edits. If I do more, my stories stink.


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posulliv
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quote:
From my point of view, outlining actually adds quite a lot of time to my writing process, which is why I think I'm so hesitant to do it.

Me too, but I think I've come up with a hybrid solution that works for me.

I don't want to declare a position on how I do/don't write since I'm still learning and trying something new with each project. Also, I think it's reasonable to be able to write a short story without an outline but still need an outline for something like _The Wheel of Time_. I'd like to have the skills to do both so I keep trying different approaches. I'd like to be able to let the project dictate the approach.

For the sort of standalone novels I've been working on I've taken to writing the synopsis first. This is enough of an outline for me to work from without feeling like I am writing in a straight jacket. It also isn't wasted work since I need the synopsis in the sales process. Since the synopsis is basically 'the story' and requires me to know the ending it's structured enough that I know where I'm headed. I allow myself to deviate from the synopsis by as much as I need to. Editing the synopsis to fit the resulting work hasn't been too hard.

A side effect of this process is (I think) that I'm getting better at the storytelling part of the craft. I can write a synopsis for a new novel in a couple of days. I write a bunch of synopses and then pick the best of the lot to commit my time to.


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Corin224
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SOOOOOO not a freewriter. If I have a story of any length, I HAVE to have it outlined, or I can't get anywhere. I take lots of fun tangents, and discover new characters, settings and tidbits I didn't know were out there, but without an outline, without a direction that I can alter 85 times, I never get anywhere.

None of this discovery writing or freewriting or whatever you call it. Not for me.

[This message has been edited by Corin224 (edited April 18, 2011).]


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Reziac
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JohnColgrove spake thus,
quote:
[pantsing] makes me think of depantsing someone

If you're depantsed, does that mean we see your outline??


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JohnColgrove
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lol maybe
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Meredith
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What KayTi and posulliv said.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited April 18, 2011).]


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Reziac
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I write pretty much like KayTi. Scenes tend to come to me fullblown and what spews through my keyboard is very close to final draft, with only tweaks and details added on the edit pass.

They also come to me in any which damned order, so if I have 10 scenes, the writing order is liable to be 4-6-7-10-1-3-2-9-8-5 and then 217-273-etc. from WAY down the timeline. And then -5 and -12 and -3887 from way before the current story, too.

I'm an extrapolator rather than a creator. Give me a seed, and I'll grow Jurassic Weedpark.


[This message has been edited by Reziac (edited April 19, 2011).]


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