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I used to describe myself, writing-wise as a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants). This is true -- I do tend to go into a story with only a vague idea of what's going on, and build it up from the inside. I would sail into a first draft, ride the high, and then get bogged down in rewrites.

But my best and most complete writing experiences could better be described as "iterative pantsing" -- I write to figure out where I'm going, then go back and edit to make sure things hang together on the front end, then write a little farther, then edit as necessary.

The pros of this are that the finished work is a lot more polished and a lot less "well, it's patently obvious that I had no idea what to do next for these two chapters..."

The cons are that it takes much longer to write this way. You get a spurt of glorious narrative flow, followed by a day or two of review and cleanup.

I've just finished a bit of cleanup and am back to the narrative flow, but as I follow this one I'm pretty sure that there might need to be a bit more restructuring than usual on the front end. Which makes this particular high a bit less fun -- but will probably make the resulting story better.

=-=-=-=-=-=

In other news, I was rereading my first novel-length fanfic (it's no longer posted online). It's better than I remember, although it's been completely trashed by canon in the meantime. (I knew that was going to happen; I wrote it between books 4 and 5 of HP.) I still like it, though.

When I wrote that one, I did it in spurts and snatches, often out of order -- just sort of following whatever scene appealed to me, then stitching up the bits later. I remember that the last scene I wrote was actually somewhere in the middle of the story.

On my current non-fanfic work, I've taken a similar approach -- writing scenes as they appeal, then tucking them at the end of the Word doc until I need them. (Sometimes they aren't used; sometimes they have to be heavily changed.) I'm not sure whether it's better than just plowing through directly, but it does make those scenes more powerful, I think, that I write them when they're fresh in my mind. Also it helps me know where my characters' minds are going.

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