We humans seem to thrive on dichotomies. Descartes kick-started the mind/body dichotomy with his famous thought experiment in which he concluded ‘I think, therefore I am’.
In the last century, psychologists came up with the nature/nurture myth, and spent decades trying to work out what was more important to the development of a human being – nature, in the form of genetics, or nurture, in the form of social conditioning.
In recent years, science has busted both those myths. Human beings are neither mind, nor body, they are both, and their development depends on both their genetic heritage, and the effect of conditioning on that heritage.
Yet we, as authors, still insist on classifying our creative style as either pantster or plotter. And I have been as guilty of this as anyone. Ever since I first heard the term ‘pantster’ I’ve considered myself to be one. In fact, I couldn’t understand how anyone could sit down and outline a story from start to finish. Worse, I secretly felt that Plotters must create very predictable storylines.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
The truth is we are both Pantsters and Plotters, or at least we should be. Continue reading “Busting the Pantster vs Plotter Myth”
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There is an old adage that goes, the cream always rises to the top. This ancient bit of agricultural wisdom is widely applied to mean that success comes to those who are worthy of it. I doubt there is a writer alive who does not harbor the fantasy, however deeply, that somewhere, a big-time movie producer or the acquisitions director of some major publishing house is reading his or her book and thinking, “My god! Why have I wasted all my years producing such drivel when this was out there? This person can write! I must sign them immediately, no matter the cost. Estelle, cancel all my appointments and find this author for me.”
That’s the dream. We think success will somehow find our books. Stop rolling your eyes and just admit it. Every writer harbors some version of that fantasy. If you didn’t think your writing was worthy, you wouldn’t put it out there. So you hit the publish button and wait for the calls and offers to start pouring in. They don’t. You find a few minor successes – a few nice reviews, a nice initial bump in the book rankings, maybe your book even won an award. But then everything seems to fizzle and your book languishes.
In the mean time that book, A Half-Hundred Variants of Off-Black has sold a zillion copies even though everyone says they hate it and it is being made into a movie with A-List actors. Probably in 3-D. There’s your cream. Continue reading “Success Is Not A Meritocracy”