World Building Pantser-Style


Woman with umbrella walking across plaza in the rain
Since we’re getting rainy (and snowy) weather, I thought I’d share that with you with a picture.

A few years ago, I went to a panel on world-building at a con  I was kind of cautious because my experience with any kind of world-building always started with this recommendation:

Buy a 3-right binder and a pack of tabs.  Take this list of questions and answer every single one about your world.  Only then can you write your story.

Pretty much a huge turn off to a pantser like me.  It was one of the reasons I didn’t do speculative fiction for a long time.  By the time I did all that recommended world building, I’d have lost interest not only in the story but even the world.

But this panel did something different, and I was reminded of while I was working on a scene.  They said, first just start writing the story, then world build…because otherwise it’s possible to never get around to writing the story.

They also said to think about why cities or towns were built in a particular location, and this got really interesting because I hadn’t thought of cities like that before.

With a lot of the modern cities, it’s not always that obvious.  If you walked out to Alexandria, VA today and looked around, you would never know that it was site of bustling tobacco trade in the 1700s.   Now pleasure boats are hooked up to the docks and people feed the ducks.

There are also ruins in Egypt for places that no longer exist because the Nile changed course and that part of the world dried up.  Clive Cussler did a novel called Sahara with something similar where there was a river in the 1800s and a Confederate ironclad got into the river.  Shipwreck in the desert!

Still one of my favorite books.  But I digress.

I wandered in this direction today because in my scene I have a town that’s kind of in the middle of nowhere.  And it really is about connecting the dots and making sure all those connections get into the story.  I was surprised at how many pieces were already there…creative brain was just sitting back and laughing at me until I figured it out.

For your reading pleasure, some interesting reading on why cities are built where they are.

 

 

Adventures in History: Gunston Hall


After this last week, I really needed a fun outing or two.  So it was off to Gunston Hall.  I’d seen the signs on the way to Pohick Bay Park and Mason Neck Park, but I’d never visited before.  The day started out a little chilly.

Gunston Hall was the home of George Mason.  That’s a familiar name around Northern Virginia, though his role in history is largely forgotten.  And it was an important role!

He was a plantation owner at the time of the Revolutionary War.  He drafted the Virginia Bill of Rights, which was used as a basis for the U.S. Bill of Rights.

When everyone gathered in Philadelphia to sign the Constitution, he was one of three people who refused to sign.  They were called the “non-signers” (some trends don’t die.  I’ve certainly seen some labeling today).  The other two were Edmond Randolph (many streets and schools named after him) and Elbridge Gerry (haven’t seen his name around).

George Washington disagreed and thought the Constitution was enough.  George and George had been friends, but the disagreement effectively ended their friendship.  George Washington never visited George Mason again.

Now for the pictures!

Maps first:

Map showing George Mason's properties

This is a map that shows where George Mason owned land.  All the brown squares represent his land.  He was a third generation Mason, and each family member acquired more land.  He owned a lot of land!  Most of is now gone.  All that’s left is the area where the house is.

George Mason's house

This is the house.  It’s in the Georgian style, where everything is symmetrical, which you can see in the location of the chimneys, the windows–even the door and the window over it.

The name of the house comes from the family home in England.

Inside, I’m walking on a plank floor that George Washington, James Madison, and even Winston Churchill has walked on.  The planks creak under my feet, announcing where I am to the house.

Parlor Room with ornate fireplace

This is the parlor room.  Some of the furniture in the house is original, obtained from donations, loans, or auctions.

The colors on the walls and fireplace are also what they would have been in George Mason’s time.  The fireplace was carved out of black walnut.  It was, indeed, painted, because paint was a luxury item.  If you could afford paint, you painted everything.

The Family Room of the era, showing a desk and chairs

This was the family room of the era.  This desk was the one George Mason actually used, and perhaps he drafted the Virginia Bill of Rights here.  His family would also eat in here.

It was also the room where he passed away.

Framed bed with yellow drapes and green walls

The bedroom.  The green paint was an expensive color for the time.  You can’t see it in the photo, but there’s also a pantry in here.  Mrs. Mason locked up the valuables in it: chocolate, sugar, and tea.

Mrs. Mason was also friends with Martha Washington, so maybe they talked about the two Georges in here. 🙂

View of the gardens through the rear door

This is the view of the gardens through the back door.  The trees lining the path are the original Boxwoods–240 years old!  The trees were struck by a disease or a blight, so they’re not in good shape.

By the time I get outside, it’s nice out.  Comfortably warm, though clouds are moving in. The last of the cicadas are buzzing, hoping for a mate.  They probably only have a few weeks left.

18th Century Kitchen

I stop by for a look at the kitchen.  In George Mason’s time, it was a separate building.  A later owner added a kitchen onto the end of the house.  After the house was turned over to the state of Virginia, that was removed to help restore the house to its original appearance.

The business end of a well

And another well, right across from the kitchen building. I couldn’t see the bottom of this.  There were two women checking this out too and commented it was the perfect place to lose your cell phone in.

The room where the ironing was done.

And another exterior building where the laundry was done.  I was reminded of a story my grandmother told.  When she moved into the family house–after having grown up during the Depression–she was horrified at the seeming extravagance of having eight table cloths.  Turned out the reason for it was because it took so long to clean each one and iron it out.

The school room for the kids

The interior or the schoolhouse where the family’s children learned every day.  Since the winters here can get pretty cold, can you imagine huddling here by the fire and listening to the teacher?  The light might not have been too good either during those winter months.

View of the Potomac River through the trees

My final part was a nice walk out in the grassy area behind the house.  A pebble path wove around, though it was hard to walk on.  The pebbles kept shifting under my feet with each step, and in unexpected ways.  I had to be careful not to fall!

The small T about 1/3 down and 1/3 across is the Potomac River.

It was a pretty fun day.  You can read more about Gunston Hall and George Mason here.

A Veteran/Writer Looks at History: Fort C.F. Smith


I went to Fort C.F. Smith the same day I did Fort Ward.  It was such a nice day, and it was near the library, so I stopped over.  I really wanted to get some more of the sunshine.

First up, this Civil War fort is hard to find.  For some reason, the state or county inexplicably has a sign that points to a right turn, and then no signs indicating where to turn again unless you coming from the opposite direction.

The fort is smack in the middle of a suburban area, so it’s on a shady little street.  Without the sign, I wouldn’t know this had once been a Civil War fort.  It’s a basic park.  Green grass, trees.

Map of Fort C.F. Smith

So here’s the handy dandy map of what it used to look like.  Farmland was used to build the fort in 1863.  This was one of three forts that protected the Aqueduct bridge of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

Fort C.F. Smith was named after General Charles Ferguson Smith.  He was commandant of the the U.S. Military Academy while Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman were there.

It was a lunette fort, which was apparently pretty unusual.  I had to look the word up to see what it meant.  It’s a fort that that has two faces.  This fort’s two faces are on the southern and western side.

The fort came with:

  • Barracks (got to have some places for the soldiers to stay)
  • Mess hall (that’s the place the soldiers eat)
  • Officer’s quarters (that would have been a little fancier than the barracks)
  • Barn (probably for horses)
  • Headquarters building (where the officers did their planning)

Two stone pillars mark the entrance to Fort C.F. Smith Park

This was one of the entrances to the park.  It’s not the entrance to the fort.

Off for a bit of walking.

Park area marking the original entrance of Fort C.F. Smith

This is the original entrance to the fort.  Can’t really tell much looking at it.  in the upper left third of the photo, there’s a post sticking out of the ground.  That marks the entrance.  It’s just a numbered post–if you visit this park, download the brochure before you go or you will have no context whatsoever.

Meadow of flowers and butterflies

There was a bench here so I sat down and looked at the flowers.  This is a meadow as it might have looked to the farmers of the time.  You can’t see it in the photo, but there were little yellow butterflies bouncing above the flowers.

As I sat here, I could hear the freeway on the other side of the meadow.  The roar of jets drowned out the thrilling of the birds.  The park was under the flight path of Ronald Reagan Airport.

Cannon

This was one of the cannons.  There were supposed to be eight, but it looked like the others had been removed.  The hill was a ramp to help move the equipment around.  Artillery is heavy!  During Desert Storm, we hauled shells for artillery to the front line and the trucks were always running on fumes because of the loads.

Stone well

The land was turned back over to the original owners after the fort was decommissioned and they used this well for their water.  I’m from Southern California, so I’ve never seen a well in person.  How I would picture it is those illustrated drawings that make them look rickety.  This was about 30 inches high (measuring by where it hit me on my legs), and the top was sealed up.

Can you imagine lowering a bucket with it’s own weight into that well, then getting filled with water, and hauling it back up?  Takes some serious muscle!

As you can see, there’s not a lot left here.  Why wasn’t more preserved?

The answer is the military.  The buildings were removed when the fort was decommissioned in 1865.   We’re lucky to have this much preservation because it could have disappeared as the world changed.

More of the story about this fort is on the park website.

A Writer/Veteran Looks at History: Fort Ward, Virginia


I’ve been disturbed at the attempts I’m seeing to destroy history.  In Baltimore, there’s talk of removing statues.  Remove history and you take away who we are.  Since Virginia has a whole lot of historical sites, I thought I would visit them and talk about them.

First up is Fort Ward, which is in Alexandria, Virginia.  I like places where I can walk the area and try to picture what it was like for the people who were there.  Plus I get some good walking in.  The weather was nice and sunny, so it was pretty fun checking everything out.

This was a Union fort during the Civil War.   Today, it’s a park where you can walk around with your dog or even have a picnic.  The buzz of cicadas do battle with the sounds of cars racing by just outside the park.  It’s like an island in the middle of busy.

Fort Ward was an earthen fort built to defend Washington DC during the Civil War, though it never actually saw an action.  Construction was completed in September 1861.

This is a picture of the original design.

A diagram of the 5 pointed star shape of Fort Ward.

Time’s now worn down the earthen walls, and it’s hard to picture.  But this design was so that on the star’s points, soldiers could catching approaching enemy in the crossfire.  Very old military technology.

Gated entrance to Fort Ward
Starting at the entrance to the fort.  You can see what a nice day it was out–that sky is a pretty blue and clear.  Warm, but not muggy.

This gate was the only entrance to the fort.  The fort was surrounded by a dry moat.  I can imagine this being a guard post with two Union soldiers on duty, watching for arriving visitors.

Dry moat surrounding Fort Ward.

This is where I start imaging what the soldiers did.  This is the dry moat.  The picture doesn’t show the height really well, but it’s actually pretty steep.

Imagine running up to this berm and dropping down against it, your muzzle loader rifle at the ready and the enemy coming on the other side.  The berm would stop any bullets headed your way (hopefully), but you would still have to stick part of your body up over the berm to fire back, making yourself a target.

Rear view of Fort Ward

I wander on and come up to the fort itself.  This is from the rear view, from inside, so it’s what the Union soldiers themselves would have seen.  That white wall has a shelf in front of it for guard duty.

I get up and walk along it and this is what I see:

What I might see on guard duty from Fort Ward. All grass and bushes now.

And I stop here and think about being a soldier on guard duty.  It’s cold out, because whenever I was on guard duty, it was always cold!

And I’m scared because I don’t know what’s coming, except that I know that my enemy might be coming over that next hill to kill me.

War is both very personal and very impersonal.

Defensive position with cannons at Fort Ward.

Back down the stairs to check out what we in the military calls the “defensive position.”  This position was set up to defend Little River Turnpike (which turns into Duke Street) and Leesburg Pike (which turns into King Street,  Obviously named after General Lee).  All those streets are still here, but it’s hard picturing how it must have looked in 1861.

Time to get closer.

Cannon

This is one of the bigger cannons.  War then was definitely not for short people!  I can barely see over the cannon to where the enemy is coming.

So I try a smaller cannon.

Following a cannon's line of fire.

Cannon fire is very loud.  I was on Fort Lewis, walking on the sidewalk across the street from the parade field.  Someone was test-firing the cannon.

Boom!

I jumped and was going, “What the heck?”

I’d been in front of the cannon, so it was much noisier.  If you ever go to a cannon demonstration, make sure you are on the side you see in the photos above.

The door to Magazine No3

This was where the ammunition was packed with black powder.  It was very hazardous duty.  Then the military didn’t have the safeguards to protect the soldiers, so people often got killed.

Door labeled "Filling Room No5"

And this is where the ammunition is stored.  Also not a particularly safe place to be.

The front of Fort Ward, though bushes

Then I walk around to the front of Fort Ward.  If this fort had seen action, this is the view the approaching Confederates would have had.

More of the fort is visible at winter when the plants die off, so I can’t see much now.  But there’s that trench I’d have to cross if I were on the Confederate side, with cannons pointed down on me and probably soldiers with muzzle loaders.  Look on the left for a cannon poking out.

The last part of my trip I don’t have any pictures for, because there’s nothing left other than the story.  After the war ended, the African Americans who had been freed established what became known as “The Fort” around the remains of Fort Ward.  It was their home and a place where they raised their families.  They emphasized faith, education and moral codes.

As the Civil Rights Era kicked off, they were displaced by time.  All that’s left is a sign and a graveyard of a church in the area.  But some of the new generations still live in the area, and the street names mark the location (Seminary Road).

Here’s the link to the Fort Ward site.

I’m thinking of hitting Leesylvania Park next (you guessed it–named after General Lee, who lived in Virginia).  It’s a pretty area, a bit of challenging walk, and some interesting history that involves–of all things–gambling!

What do you think?  Is there anything you want me to wander off and check out (safety permitting)?

 

 

 

Snow, Power Outages, and Pantsing


We’ve had some very typical weather for Washington, though most of it is waaaaayyy early.  We don’t get frigid weather until January or February.

It was in single digits on Thursday.  Saturday started the day with freezing rain.  The ground was pretty slick.  Maryland had a 67 car accident on the freeway (no, that is not a typo!), and we had a 23 car one in Virginia.  People drive like it’s normal day, and we have major accidents.

Then the freezing rain turned to snow, and it warmed up a bit.  Was kind of nice on Sunday until 1:00 when a very cold wind blew in.  My power went out about 10 times between 1:00 and 5:00.  I want to write, and I have to get off so I don’t fry the computer!

I’m about 27K into the story, which translates as 10K.  Yes, I’ve written about 15K that is going bye-bye.  It takes me a while to write my way through the story. Some of my process is kind of like throwing paint at the wall to see what sticks.

My learning point on this is working on a B-story.  I thought it would be X when I started and even have a scene for it.  But as I wrote, a new character introduced herself into the story, and she’s very clearly the B-story.  So I’m thinking on some additional scenes early on for her.

But also as I got further into the story and events unfolded, some in quite unexpected ways, I realized that my opening chapter isn’t the right thing.  It served its purpose–get me started. But I had to learn more about what else was going to happen in the story so I could figure out how to open the story.

Being a pantser always means being open to change as the story evolves.

Arlington County Fair


Today, I checked out the Arlington County Fair, and there was some interesting sightings along the way …

A cardboard poster of a blond guy advertising yard sale

The yard sale folks put this out to catch the eye of all the people walking to the fair.  Yard sale wasn’t much by the time I got there, but the sign was eye catching.  I wasn’t the only one taking a picture.

Blue and green dragon carnival ride

There be dragons, and they are my favorite color.

A pink pig with wings on the roof of a building

When pigs fly …

 

A person in a pig costume in a golf cart

Or when pigs drive …

Spiderman stands next to Camaro decked out in spiders

Spiderman’s got a hot Camaro.

The shiny chrome engine interior of the Spiderman car, decorated with black widows

Checking out the inside of the Camaro.  Awesome.

Medium shot of Linda Adams

And a shot of me on the way back.  It was a hot day out!

 

Muscle Woman and High Fiving a Robot


First up, some bragging points:  My short story “A Quartet of Clowns” got an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest.  No publication, but I’m moving up.

This weekend, I was at Ravencon, a science fiction convention that’s held every year, now in Williamsburg, VA.  It used to be in Richmond, but the hotel hired new staff, who jacked up the price, so they moved to the new location.

I was hoping for nice weather.  Instead, it was rain and gray skies all the way up.

I had two goals for the con.  The first was to use the hotel’s swimming pool and get a little swimming in. For the con, it was to participate more, because when I do I’m memorable.  Not sure why, but everyone remembers me.

So I had to pick better panels than I’ve had in the past.  A lot of the writing ones tend to be beginner level, so I don’t want to participate (and in some cases, I think what they’re giving out is really wrong).  I scoped out the panels about week before, though first contact changed that.

I got in a quick swim before the con started. About ten laps, which wasn’t much (the pool was small). I also did pool pullups. I use the handles on the ladder to do it.

Then off to the con. The first sessions included a panel on world building.  I think one person suggested the world building topic, because there was a lot of world building panels, and nearly always the same writers on the panels.   One of the commentaries on horses came from a horse enthusiast on panel.  In fantasy novels, everyone always has a horse, but horses are really expensive (why they hung horse thieves).  That made me note a comment to add to the short story I was working on (called Lady Pearl and now in submission).

After that, it was off to a Star Trek 50th anniversary panel—it’s hard to believe it has been 50 years.  The panelists went through all the various incarnations of Trek.  There had been two panels on Star Trek scheduled that I planned to attend, but after this one, I had my fill.  Never thought I’d say that about Star Trek.  When I was growing up, I had a shrine in my room—everything I had all displayed.

I chatted with the panelists before the panels—sitting in the front row is great for interaction.

Saturday started with another trip to the pool. Then off to a panel on robots, which is where my post title comes from.  There was team of teenagers who had participated in an annual contest for building robots.  They’re given a task—in this case, climbing a ramp—and they have to build and program a robot that can accomplish the task.  Everything is Open Engineering Book, so all the teams can use what someone else comes up with to learn.

Two of the team members were girls.  They built a robot which looked like the lunar rover.  It had a hand on the top that gave you a high five, which was pretty cool.

And it was girls, which was awesome,

Then off to Flags on the Moon, which is exactly what it was.  The panelist talked about the trials of trying to stand a flag up on the moon and how many were standing.  We got to hear some clips from NASA and see some moon videos.   This is from NASA on the status of the flags.   No one’s been there, but NASA can tell their presence by the shadows they cast in photos.

World Building: Creating Fictional Political Systems was next.  This one presented an interesting idea, which is that a lot of writers just use the U.S. system.  How our system is unique and the only one like it, so others are better choices.  The panelists thought if there was a world government, it would be more parliamentary.

Next was the Baen Traveling Roadshow.  Reps from the company show us what’s going to be released and give away books. Honestly, it was great looking at the posters of covers they had up. Some really awesome artwork.

And back to World Building with First Contact and Politics.  Hmm.  Do you think the election might be influencing the panels?  First contact is always depicted in films as the aliens contacting the government, but the panelists thought aliens would contact merchants.  Merchants are always the ones branching out to find more markets.

My last panel was on Writing the Short Story.  The panelist was Bud Sparhawk, who’s been in Analog and Asimov’s.  He was joined by another writer, whose name I can’t recall.  That writers was a pantser, so he was the opposite of everything that was Bud.  I didn’t get as much out of the panel as I was hoping, and it was at a really bad time (10:00), so not much on the audience side.  The woman sitting next to me took notes on her checkbook register and had green lipstick that Bud said was distracting (okay, well, it was a con, and at least she wasn’t wearing one polka dot).

For Sunday, it was back to the pool first thing in the morning. This time, a mother brought her daughter, probably no more than 12, to play in the pool. It was 7:00 a.m., so this was very odd. After I did the pool pull-ups, the daughter tried it. Couldn’t do it at all. But then I’m Muscle Woman. I’ve been working on my arm muscles.

I looked at the panels for Sunday, and the only one I might have attended was late in the afternoon.  I booked out at 8:00 a.m., hoping to avoid the predicted rain.  Needless to say, it rained the entire way back and turned into a downpour once I hit Quantico.

Oh, dear.  Need to go off line.  Thunderstorm is coming in.

Traces of War: Fort Ward, VA


Today was really the first day I was able to get out and walk around. It’s been so cold since about December that going out really wans’t much of an option. Though the snow from Thursday is starting to melt often (51 degrees today), the temperature still drops enough overnight to turn anything wet to ice. My front sidewalk was a sheet of ice, and is still icy in the early afternoon!

So I picked Fort Ward because it has wide asphalt walking paths for joggers.

It’s a Civil War military site, one of the many Union forts used to defend Virginia. The fort is the only one that is intact, though intact is strange word. It makes me think of actual wooden structures like what I might see on TV in an old TV show, hardly anything that would be accurate. The outer area is a lot of rolling hills — rifle trenches.

But the centerpiece is the fort itself.

It’s built up as part of an embankment, almost unnoticable at first because it blends in with the background. During spring, it’s all the grass and plants. During winter, snow.

At least until I spotted the cutouts for the cannons.

Because the grass was still covered by snow, I stayed on the paved walkway. In a way, it made that a difference experience because I looked at the outside of the fort in the way a Confederate soldier approaching would have seen it. Admittedly, it was still hard to picture because just a short distance away, I could hear a steady stream of cars on nearby I395 and see the tall buildings.

I had to imagine that there was probably a meadow, and maybe two dirt roads. This fort was to protect those two roads, though it never saw any battles. The soldiers who were there probably wouldn’t recognize it today.

Time moves on, but war stays with us.

Saturday, According to Linda


This morning, I went out to eat for breakfast at IHOP, which I do every Saturday. I did sleep late, which was like to about 7:00.  I like to take the newspaper and read over pancakes. There’s something special about a leisurely breakfast. The staff there knows me pretty well — I can do a half order on pancakes and get only 2 instead of 4, where I would only eat half.

After that, it’s hit the grocery store because it’s right nearby and I want to grab sales.  I’ve been stockpiling pantry items because the evil F word keeps getting mentioned on the news: Furlough.  Homeland Security’s getting it right now, but when the budget battles rolls around again, we’ll probably make that round, too.  This time, I want to have a good stock of supplies so I can shop there and keep the costs down when money isn’t coming in.  Plus, I was quite horrified to discover that the state I live is the most expensive in the U.S. when it comes to food, so I’m working on cutting the costs down.

Then it was off to Target because I needed to pick up a composition book for my March planner (green checks for spring.  I’m trying to be optimistic.  It was 18 out when I went to breakfast).  Later today, I’ll add CVS to the list — both these stores are for strategic use because I get a couple of benefits going today that I can use for when the expensive allergy medicine goes on sale.

Then it’s probably to the library, since I have to return books, and I might need to get gas.  I usually do that on Sunday, but tomorrow is supposed to snow again (spring anyone please?).  I’m currently reading Personal by Lee Child.

And somewhere in here, I’m finishing up a short story for a writing workshop I’m in.  The story is urban fantasy, called Ladymoon.  That was a last name I ran across, and it fit the story — yes, werewolves, but spy werewolves.  Spies are way cool, at least the fictional versions.  Washington DC has the Spy Museum, which was what led to the idea for the story.  I also have to review the material for the class.  I flipped it this week to give me an extra few days to do the story first.

I always end up running errands on Saturday — who wants to do all this coming home from work?  My ideal one is just simply not trying to jam all the errands into one day and spread them out over the week.  But it’s the time available.  I don’t want to go to a grocery store on Monday after work when it’s crowded, and I’m tired, and I feel like I have to rush.

From The Daily Post: What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

Writer of Contention: “We Are Outliners. You Will Be Assimilated.”


Virginia’s still in frigid-land today, though — it’s hard to believe I’m saying this — it’s warmer at 23 degrees.  That’s because we don’t have the extreme wind chills of the last few days.  Of course, tomorrow, it’s supposed to an icy mix, right when morning rush hour starts … Argh!

Off to the subject which starts as a prompt from The Daily Post: Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.

I actually don’t like taking sides, because the answer is often more in the middle.  If someone is pounding their fists and saying “This is so!” my first reaction is “What’s the other side say?”  I read a conservative newspaper and a liberal newspaper so I can get both ends of the news.

But in writing, I keep running into sides when it comes to the process of writing.  Now for readers, it doesn’t matter about the process that created the book, as long as it’s a good story (we won’t get into what makes a good story.  That’s a sticky area of opinion that’s hard to define).

Yet, it irks me to see blog posts called Plotters vs. Pantsers, Pros and Cons of Plotting and Pantsing, and “The Great Debate.”  Nearly all of these are framed in such a way that Pantsers (people who don’t use outlines when they write) just need to get with the program and haven’t figured it out yet.  Worse are the posts that are “I’m a reformed/recovering pantser” or “confessions of a pantser turned plotter.”  They just sound like pantsers are unsavory types lurking in the doorways of abandoned buildings at night.  What is there to confess?  What is there to recover from?

All of it ends up going to the suggestion — sometimes subtle and sometimes not — that people who don’t outline are doing it wrong.

I took a writing lecture from Dean Wesley Smith on “Writing into the Dark” (he doesn’t think much of the term pantser).  The thing that amazed me was that I had naturally gravitated to all but one of the things he suggests.  Then I moved away from them because the Writing Collective (like the Borg Collective) kept saying that they weren’t a good idea, for a variety of reasons.  I find it now another way to pressure pantsers into conforming by outlining.

Ys, I’m now doing all of those things I moved away from again, because they were essential to how I write.  When I didn’t do them, it made things worse.  No assimilation here.  I am me.  I do it the way that works for me.

And since I talked Star Trek, a quick video of Borg Squared: