Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday and Writing: What kind of writer are you?

What kind of writer are you? That question was asked on many blogs this summer, and it always seemed to come down to two answers: character writer or a plot writer. Character writers get a character in their head which compels them to write. Plot writers get a plot, a storyline if you will, in their head and create characters to play out the story.

I--I'm neither. That really bothered me, especially this summer. Because I've been writing less than a year. Lots of people in the blogosphere have been writing much longer than me. They know these things. I felt that if I were neither a character writer or a plot writer, maybe it meant I shouldn't be a writer.

I tend to be stubborn, so I just kept going, refusing to accept that. I'm glad I did. I figured it out. I'm a premise writer. I dreamed of a fire annihilating a man, and Phantom Fires came to be. I saw a girl meet the brother she didn't know she had and Chance Encounters was born.

When I started Phantom Fires I had no idea who the characters were. Though, I figured out what kind of people they were and who they symbolized for me as I watched them interact. I didn't know where the story would go. I kind of made it up, or watched it as I went along. It was fun that way. I figured things out about the time the reader will. The premise served as my muse.

Chance Encounters was a similar story. It's a bit more personal so I had a good idea who most of the characters were, but I didn't know them all. And I wasn't exactly sure how the story would come together. I'm only about 20,000 words into it. I think that means I haven't figured it all out yet. (In fact, I know it does). But it will come together. Because for me the concept makes the story.

Now I'm asking you. What kind of writer are you? Don't box yourself in. If you can only write while skydiving you're probably a skydiver writing. Most of us have something that triggers the process. I'm just interested in hearing what those somethings are. So what kind of writer are you?


  1. I've never even classed myself as any kind of writer, except maybe a possibly fair-to-good one (small vein of vanity there!). Nearly all my stories start with one, or maybe a handful of scenes in my head, like shots from a film. I had two characters, one an old one from years ago, one newer that was the centre of the first scene, and it went from there.
    And btw - it doesn't matter if you've been writing a week, a year, an eternity. I think we have enough challenges to face as writers without adding a minimum writing time to qualify us as a 'writer'! :)

  2. I'm not one who uses a guide to know where I fit in with the writing world. I write novels, sometimes they're YA sometimes they're Adult.

    I love character driven stories, but sometimes the plot takes the driver seat.

    I, like you, just started writing earlier this year and I've learned a TON about myself, about writing and the process. It's a long one, and most days you'll feel crappy, but those pivotal moments make it worth while (finishing a first draft, agent acceptance, publisher acceptance) the life of a writer is a tough one, but well worth the fight!

    YAY Two days until the big reveal!!! I'm praying for a win! I'd love to get my hands on The Hunger Games! I hope you are well :)

  3. I don't think I'm 'character' or 'storyline' either. I guess you could call me an 'idea' writer. I think (or dream) of an idea, sometimes only one scene, and I keep asking myself "why did that happen?" and "what would happen next?" It reveals characters and builds into a story. And while I usually know what is going to happen, I don't know how it will happen until I write it.

  4. I'd have to say I'm a plot writer. Not very in-depth plots,but plots nonetheless. Then I ask the who and why questions to fill in the holes. Great thought provoking question.

  5. Many, many of my stories come from a first sentence or a title that pops into my head and won't let me go. Often the sentence turns into a paragraph, turns into a scene then suddenly I realize I have a story, a novel wanting to be told.

  6. I just noticed that you're at 46 followers! Go Beth!