Gardener v. Architect?

I've heard a lot about the two different main "styles" of writing long-term fiction (long series or serials), gardener and architect. Gardeners will plant the seeds of characters or settings, then let the scenes and interactions and plot "grow" from there, while architects will have the majority of the plot and scenes planned out before they start writing. As a gardener myself, I've often wondered if the architect style would be easier, since one wouldn't have to think out the twists and turns while writing each installment.


What type of writer are you? What do you find easy or difficult about your style?


If you haven't already, I highly, highly, highly recommend watching Brandon Sanderson's videos on writing. He teaches a course at BYU on creative writing and has a website where they post his lectures on youtube. If you google "Brandon Sanderson Write About Dragons 2013" you'll find the website and all the lectures. Anyways, he talks about this in one of the lectures and suggests trying each style. Many authors, from what I understand, aren't just one or the other - they take elements of each and find what works best for them.


Personally, I don't outline like an architect, but I do have an ending in mind as well as a basic game plan in place before I start. For my current serial, I know exactly how it's going to end, I know how many arcs it will be, and I know more or less exactly what's going to happen in each arc leading up to the conclusion. Did I write all of it down? Not really. I knew the ending starting out and a few key scenes that I knew I wanted to include and then as I started to write, more and more ideas came to me to fill in the gaps. Does that mean the story will turn out exactly like I thought? Nah, as I'm writing things often change, but the general plot outline is there.


If there's one thing I think can benefit a gardner, it's this: know where you're going. If you write by the hip, it's great and all, but sometimes you just end up spinning your wheels and you'll have these arcs/books where nothing really happens. If you have an endgame in mind, it really helps streamline everything. This way, when you're "gardening," you're doing so with a purpose.


Just my 2 cents.


Edit: No two people have the exact same writing style. You just have to experiment and find what works for you. For me, I tried outlining (writing everything down) and found that it tended to kill my drive to write. I also found that so much would change during that first draft (new ideas would surface, subplots, etc) that it almost wasn't worth it for me to take so much time outlining.


Maddirose - a few others have raised the same question in different ways. You might want to search the forum for the term "pantser" as it pulls up relevant threads on planning/ not planning.


Not sure this will work: http://forums.webfictionguide.com/search.php?q=pantser


@eventoe you are evil...I cannot stop watching these now. I love his Mistborne series, and I had no clue he lectures. I also like what you said about taking different elements from each style. I'm just recently learning the different writing tools I have at my disposal, so sad as it sounds I wouldn't have thought to do that.


@SGL Aah, I thought to search for "gardener" and "architect" before I posted, but didn't think to check for different terms. Thanks!


FWIW I like your analogy although "pantser" sticks in my brain long after the threads have come and gone :)


I like to think of myself as a civil engineer. I have a plan, i outline a tight sequecne of events, places, people, things, and then we open up the new subdivision, everyone moves into the place ive designed, and starts doing whatever the hell they want...


I find having an outline required for me, but hte characters keep changing things on me...