Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quickie Post: Let's Have a Straw Poll!

I'm sure most of you have heard by now that Stephen King is picking up the Dark Tower series again. This is the point where you're probably imagining me flailing about the room like an utter dork, doing dances that no one should ever see, and only calming down in fits and starts so that I can type. I mean, I've read everything that the man's ever written, often three and four times. (Or fourteen times, in the case of the Book-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named.) I read It at nine by "borrowing" a copy from one of my mother's friends, hiding it under the couch, and gulping it down thirty and forty pages at a time whenever I managed to go over. The Gunslinger still has one of the greatest first lines I've ever read. ("The man in black fled west, and the gunslinger followed." We ought to include that in a Touring test; any truly advanced being will immediately shiver.)

I am so ambivalent about this eighth book. Outlining, or the lack thereof, is the primary reason why. I fully respect the pantsers. Some of my best friends are pantsers. In anything under 15,000 words, I am a proud pantser myself. However, it was fairly obvious by the seventh book (sixth, to be perfectly honest) that King didn't know where he was going and was making it up as he went along. Fine if you take the series as a very long novel that he could go back and edit in order to clean up the flailing bits, not so good when the first book was twenty years old. My inner Type-A is clutching at her pearls (of course she has pearls) at the mere thought.

So, friendly folks, are you a pantser or an outliner? And pantsers who have series written or planned, how do you do it?

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