Linda Maye Adams

Soldier, Storyteller

This and that for last week of September


This week …

Lots of rain for Washington, DC.  Alexandria’s King Street flooded, as usual.  The street ends right at the Potomac.  In the 1700’s, it was a big, important port for shipping of tobacco.  The city built out then, so the street goes in a deep slope at that point, down to the river.  It also floods every time it rains heavily.  The first picture in the link is deceptive, because you can see the pavement.   The river is on the other side of the fence.

Pantsing turned up twice this week.  I suppose as we’re approaching Nano in November, people are starting to think about process.  One of the writers, who was a pantser, said she’d been told that the only way to write was to outline.  That’s what following the “rules” imposed by other people gets you.  The only wrong way to write is the one that doesn’t work for you.

The one thing I don’t like when any of the discussion comes up is that it tends to be an outliner who’s heard about pantsers.  They try to define it, but it’s obvious they’re scratching their heads and checking the rule book, and can’t make sense of it.  And this is what most of the pantsers see!

There are exactly three books on writing without using outlines.  Most of the other books start out with the definition of a pantser and an outliner, and then give outliner advice, which tends to mean they’re written by outliners.  It’s very hard to advise someone how to write a certain way if you haven’t done it!

So I define my selection as books being specifically about writing without outlines.

Story Trumps Structure: This is a more generic book, typical of the craft books you will find, though it assumes you’re not outlining.

Writing into the Dark:  This one gives actual tips that you can use.  Interestingly, nearly all the tips are the ones outliners say not to do.

Pantser’s Guide for Writers: You Are Not Alone.  This one’s mine.  I never thought I would do a writing book because I feel like I never know enough.  But I was tired of seeing books that treated the way I write like I didn’t know what I was doing, just because the writer didn’t understand how I did it.

And here’s one website, The Extreme Pantser’s Guide, by Kate Paulk.  She’s been on panels at conferences I’ve attended.  In fact, I’d found this site a few weeks before a con, and she was on panel, and I’m looking at her name and going, “Wait a minute…” We chatted for a few minutes after the panel.

This morning …

Early this morning at about 4:36 I woke up to a woman screaming from somewhere outside.  Close.

I tried to see if I could spot her anywhere from my window, which has a pretty good view of the corner, but she was not in view.  I called 911, and the operator said that other people had called in, too.  Hopefully if she was in danger, the police arrived in time.  They have a fast response here, but even two minutes is a very long time when anything is happening.

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