1. Pixit

    Pixit Member

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    Pantsing and playwriting

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Pixit, Mar 4, 2020.

    I have been struggling throughout my studies with outlining my plays in advance (during the semester we were supposed to first submit the idea, the outline, plot points, detailed character description, etc; actual writing was the final exam work). I feel like I myself don't know what the play will be about, or who the characters really are, not until I put the whole story out on the paper. All my attempts to stick to the original outline were futile as the story simply takes its own course, and I would often receive a feedback saying I "often change my mind and am unable to stick to the original idea" and it left me feeling doubtful and wondering whether I'm doing it the wrong way.

    My question is - Are playwriting and pantsing mutually exclusive? Should I force myself to accept the rules of the game here and stick to the original outline even though it ruins the whole process for me and makes my work sound generic and unnatural? I do edit and review once I am finished writing the play, but I am unable to outline before writing. Are there any playwrights out there who function the same way?

    English is not my first language, I apologize for any mistakes. :)
     
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  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    I've never written plays, but as far as I understand it, largely from my own experience in both plotting and pantsing as well as reading what other people have to say, I believe we all do both to varying degrees even if we don't realize it. I mean, whether you write your ideas down or not, you're planning it to some extent, even if only barely, in your head. And like yourself, I usually 'discover' my stories as I'm writing the prose, even if I do a lot of plotting beforehand. The processes play off each other, and even if I plot out something that seems like it will work perfectly I often find it changes as I'm in the much more detailed process of writing it sentence by sentence.

    This said, I understand why the instructor wants you to plot and stick to it for your first draft, though I don't necessarily agree it's the best way to do it. Maybe the instructor doesn't really understand the process that well, or wants the students to do it a certain way because they think it's the best learning process. Or the course is just laid out that way.

    I think if you want to do well in the course you should do it the way the instructor wants, even if your play doesn't come out the way you'd like. Consider it a rough draft that you can then rip apart when you go in to revise. On the other hand, if you really find it hard to work that way, maybe you could get out of that course? Or talk with the instructor about it privately.
     
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  3. Pixit

    Pixit Member

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    Thank you for your insight, Xoic. :) My initial plots are just never as good as the ones that emerge intuitively and so I avoid sticking to them and rely on my characters to lead the way, I probably should train myself to use the left part of my brain a bit more and combine both approaches.
     
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  4. Allykat5899

    Allykat5899 New Member

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    There are a probably some videos on YouTube that might help you. I remember watching one once about basic formatting
     

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