Struggling to find a writing style that suits your life? Maybe you have a style that works for you but want to try something new? Read on to learn about the most common method beginning writers use. Then come back for the next couple weeks to learn more about the other writing styles (or let me send them to you).
3 most common writing styles:
This week, we’re focusing on the method that 90% of authors use the first time they sit down to write (even yours truly did), we write by the seat of our pants.
What Makes this Method Unique
Pantster writing or people who “write by the seat of their pants” means that you write like you read – with no thought before you plow ahead and see where the story takes you.
What Makes it Magical
This is the most romantic version of writing. You sit at the blank page and the words flow through you ’til voila you have an award winning novel. I have a few picture book and short stories that came together this way, and it was energizing to write like this. It felt like the story was already complete and my job was to just unearth it.
This method is also wonderful for character development. Without a preconceived idea your characters aren’t stuck in what you imagined they’d be like. If a character takes a sharp left in the story using this method, there’s no panic. You can go with it. Characters are able to evolve and grow more organically.
What Makes it Hard
Most writers who use this method get stuck in the middle of their story. Maybe it’s happened to you? Everything is flowing nicely, and then you hit a dead end. The story feels like it’s going no where and you don’t know what to do next.
Another issue writers run in to with this method is lack of climax. When they go back to review what they’ve done, there’s no strong conflict and climax in the story. It reads more like a scenic train ride: a little flat, pretty long, and kind of boring.
What Can You Do to Make this Method Work for You?
This method can work. Even author, Stephen King, mentions using this method in his book, ON WRITING.
Have An End Goal:
I realize that this might seem to go against everything that this method stands for, but this is essential. You need to know where you’re headed when you start. If I want to walk to New York, I better point myself in that direction before I start walking, or I’m likely to end up in Mexico. Your writing is no different. Know where you’re going before you start writing.
Stay Open to Change:
Just because you point yourself in one direction does not mean that you have to end up there. If part way through your writing the story it’s obvious that you need to end somewhere else, re-shift. Same goes for your characters, let them change and grow and surprise you. Just like meeting a person in real life, sometimes it takes learning their story before you really know who they are.
Keep Going. It’s Just a First Draft:
When you do hit a road block using this method and don’t know where to go, just keep writing. Even if your draft takes a four chapter detour, you can cut that out when you edit. Don’t let yourself stop when you feel lost. Wander around in the words until you find your direction again.
Every writer has to find the writing style that works for them. Experts want you to believe there is only one right way to approach writing (which is usually the method that works for them). Not true! Writing by the seat of your pants might be your bread and butter, but it also might not work for you at all. I’ve tried this method a couple of times and while it has worked for some of my shorter pieces, I’ve never been successful writing a novel using this method. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you! If something about this method resonates, give it a try. It may be the writing miracle you’ve been looking for.
Click here to send me a tweet. I want to know what writing method works for you!