Which Kind of Writer Are You?

George“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
George R.R. Martin


I used to try to be the architect.  I thought, ‘With all this planning and knowing, surely it will be better thought out, better organized and in the end, a better story.’  Ya know what happened?  I realized it wasn’t truly who I am.

I had written out all these outlines, all these interesting colorful characters, their names, their personal stories, backgrounds, drew out the scenes, the sounds, the fragrances in the air, the certain feel to the place, how I felt being there, what’s to happen in order to get here and there, blah, blah, blah.  Ya know what that did to me?  It robbed me of living in the moment of each individual character and scene.  It robbed me of living the story.

Life, no matter how much you want it to be, is not going to be planned out.  Or it might be planned but it will turn out differently.  Sure, you dream of the house in the country, the white picket fence, the 2.5 children, the adoring helpful husband that will always be by your side.  You plan out the wrap-around porch, the porch swing, the hanging plants, right down to the kind of grass you want in your front yard.  The truth is, not all those plans are gonna pan out.

I think a novel should be the same way.  It should be lived moment by moment.  At least for me.  I want to be in the moment and I want to breathe in that aroma that fills the air when one of my characters is baking gingerbread or chocolate chip cookies.  I want to get choked up when someone beloved dies suddenly and unexpectedly.  I want to be surprised.  Yes, surprised by whatever may occur in a story, even as I’m writing it.  I want to laugh.  I want to be heartbroken.  I want to be terrified and petrified when the hairy scary monster demon thingy is trying to eat my face off.  I want to be angry when one of my favorite characters gets killed off.  I want to feel the love and crush one character secretly holds for another.  I want to be swept up in the rapture that is complete ecstasy.

I gave up trying to plan every detail of my life.  After I got the two main ones, those are my mashed p’taters.  The rest is gravy.  I gave up trying to plan every detail of my book, too.  I think I’d rather live in the moment and be surprised, myself, how it all comes together in the end, if it ever does end.  Ya know how those sequels go.  Yup, I’m a gardener.

What are you?  A planner or a pantser?  An architect or a gardener?  😉


Author: Carol B Sessums

I'm a person just like you who wants to find ways to better my life - not to just better myself, but to become extraordinary and to love my life.

4 thoughts on “Which Kind of Writer Are You?”

  1. I’m the type of writer to plan everything out before I pen a single word. I find that it helps me stay focused and keep on track–after all, it’s easier to get to your final destination when you know how to get there. However, I know that that doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s important for every writer to find the method (or hybrid of methods) that works best for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So right you are! Everyone definitely has their own method. And how. And should. I could always use more focus and even when I planned every last detail before actually engaging with the story, I’d still get easily distracted and I’d find myself engaging before I meant to and off into Neva-Neva-Land I went. I’m so A.D.D., it ain’t even funny. So, I just finally chucked it all and live in the story, only referring back to my notes (that I didn’t chuck, after all) when I am looking for that nice little tidbit of background I’d already written or line or two that sounded delicious that I just have to throw in somewhere. I totally know from where you’re coming. 🙂


  2. Me, well Squidge I think you can guess…………gardener.. the story or project develops as I write.. then after a few pages I go back and rewrite. I do find it hard to kill off characters. So just for drama I pick a character that I either dont like or one that I can as one that deserves it.. just how I feel…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand what you mean. It’s so, so difficult for me to kill off someone that I like, and especially love, but I find that if I love the character, then I’m going to get emotional, which is what I’m after. If I get emotional, chances are, the reader will get emotional, which makes it a better story. If I only killed off those that deserve it, I feel my story would lack the tiny bit of reality it deserves to be believable. Life is messy and uncertain. Books should be also. But that’s just me. Not everyone believes or writes the way I do and no one should. Life would be boring if everyone felt the same way, and especially if everyone wrote the same way. And yes, I knew you were a gardener. Just one more thing you and I have in common. And yes, rewrite. I lose count how much I go back and rewrite. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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