Getting Caught With Your Pants Down
Posted February 7, 2011on:
Today I have the distinct pleasure of hosting my friend, Sean Hayden, as he travels the web telling all you lucky people about his upcoming release, a YA vampire story called Origins, Book 1 in his Demonkin series.
I was given the honor of being hosted by my friend, Marc Vun Kannon today. I’ve been looking forward to this particular post for a while. See, Marc and I share one trait when it comes to writing, and I figured I would expand on it for those who don’t quite understand it. The fine art of being a “Pantser”.
“What’s that,” you ask?
“Well it’s very simple really…” I settle down to explain.
“Do you write your stories without wearing any pants?”
“No that’s not it at all. See…”
“Do you wear a special pair of pants, like lucky writing pants?”
“Um, no. You see…”
“Do you wear two pairs of pants as sort of an inspiration?”
“I’m sorry, but if you would quit interrupting, I’ll explain.”
“OH, sorry. Go ahead, Sean…”
Thank you. You see, being a pantser is kind of like going into a debate without knowing the topic beforehand. I believe the best term to describe it is “Improv”. I’m sure any of my fellow authors who are reading this post just went, “Ug,” or “ick.”
Yup, being a pantser is often frowned upon. Most authors use what’s known as an (cover your children’s ears, I’m about to use a dirty word) “Outline”. I hate to admit it but a chill of fear just ran down my spine. As I type, I can feel its icy grip seizing my nervous system, causing cold sweat to ease its way through my pores, and tightening my chest making the very act of breathing difficult. Outlines scare me more than middle school cafeteria workers in hairnets. Outlines scare me more than ~looks around nervously~ , “Clowns.”
I take great pleasure in writing books and short stories. Before I started, I never had a clue how much I would enjoy it. Turning letters into words, turning words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into stories is as natural as breathing now. We write stories as we go along. From characters, plots, abilities, and even worlds flow from our fingers without the benefit of planning. That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes us pantsers. WRITING FROM THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS.
“Why would you do such a thing?”
I pause for a moment and try to think of a reason.
Because it’s completely natural. I couldn’t do it any other way, nor would I try. Have you ever been on vacation? Have you ever been on vacation with an “Itinerary Nazi”? Yeah. “We need to be at the museum by 9AM so we can see the early flight exhibition before it becomes too busy. We’ll have an early breakfast after that of granola and yogurt in the butterfly grotto before moving on to the science exhibit at 9:48. If all goes to plan, we should be able to wrap up the museum by 11:43, ride back to the hotel. Shower and change before heading to the planetarium by 12:38.”
Sound like fun?
Yeah, me neither. But that is exactly what writing with an outline would feel like to me. Beat me with a 2×4. Tell me I have to move to Nome, Alaska. Sprinkle me with colored sugar and call me “Cookie.” But never, never, never ask me to write with an outline, plan a story, or ask me what comes next. It Ain’t gonna happen.
Born in the suburbs of Chicago, he moved to the frigid arctic climes of south east Florida as a small child. The son of a fireman and a proofreader (that’s what they had before spellcheck) he fell in love with reading at a young age. When he hit the age of 35 he wrote his first novel, an urban fantasy about vampires and demons entitled Origins. Unsatisfied with one novel, he penned the sequel Deceptions and both titles of the Demonkin Series will be available from Echelon Press soon.