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tlbodine
12-23-2011, 01:31 PM
Apologies if this has been done before...I see a lot of pantser vs plotter discussions and such, but I've not seen an actual survey on the topic. Fill out if you'd like :) I'll compile the results and see what, if any, pattern they give.

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write:
How many books have you written:
Are you published?

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing?
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.?
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc):

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"?
How long does it take you to write a first draft?
How long do revisions usually take you?
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft?

---------------

Basically, I'm curious whether outlining saves time, or if it just shifts the time expenditure to a different part of the process. And any other interesting data that comes of it.

I'll fill out my own responses in a sec.

tlbodine
12-23-2011, 01:42 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Fantasy/dark fantasy
How many books have you written: Erm...3, if we're counting "serious" stuff. If we're counting all of my bad attempts in middle and high school, 12.
Are you published? Short stories yes, but not novels (haven't gotten to a point where I'm comfortable querying yet)

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Depends...I mean, I carry about ideas for books for years sometimes without writing them. But once I settle down and commit to *actually* writing it, I'm usually rarin' to go after a couple weeks to a month of research/planning.

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? I do a lot of procrastinate-ey pre-planning stuff like making "dolls" of my characters on doll-makers, building playlists for writing, finding art that reminds me of setting, etc. None of it really seems to matter much, but it gets me "into" the tone of the story while I'm letting the plot percolate.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): I'll usually draft up some sort of scene list of all the important scenes I know will probably have to happen, so I have them somewhere other than inside my head.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? About 3...usually a very rough draft, then I go through it and clean up structural problems in the second draft. Then the third draft is more of a polish, fixing up sentences, killing adverbs, etc.

How long does it take you to write a first draft? Eeehhhh. It depends...Carnal Jesus took me 5 years because I kept putting it down to work on other things, I'm not sure how much aggregate writing time actually went into it. Nezumi's Children took one month. Tagestraum took about 3 months.

How long do revisions usually take you? Well, I've been doing the second draft of Tagestraum on-and-off all year, because I am a slacker and I keep getting discouraged. When I actually sit down to WORK on it, without distractions, I'm averaging about a chapter every two days.

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? Yeeeeeessss, and this is what I most want to find a way to deal with...or maybe not if it's natural, I dunno. I just know that the story I set out to write when I picked up the pen for Tagestraum bears very little resemblance to the story that happened on the first draft...and that the second draft is substantially different from the first. It picked up a sub plot and several new characters, the theme shifted, and now ending it is really frustrating because it needs a new ending. Also lots of pieces seem to be in the wrong place.

Mr Flibble
12-23-2011, 02:10 PM
Okay, I've got some time this morning, I'll play

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Fantasy mostly.
How many books have you written: 8
Are you published? Yep, 6th book under this name comes out next year. Have bigger stuff going on under Sekrit Pen Name.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Anywhere from ten minutes to years - mostly they sit there because I'm writing something else though, so they aren't really simmering.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? None. I do, however, sometimes daydream about the characters (not the plot), turning them this way and that to see who they are. Still, as soon as I start writing them, they change.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): N/A

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? My first book had LOADS, but since then, first draft, tidy up (continuity errors etc, nothing major), post beta tweak, final read through.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? anywhere from 6 weeks to three months, depends on the story.
How long do revisions usually take you? Depends, but usually less than a month.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? Nope. It's not the plot that I tweak as a rule (except maybe very minor motivation tweaks)



But, you know, this isn't going to help you decide if outlining saves time or not. Why? Because this is a method that works for me. It may make things take longer for you (in the same way that outlines make things take longer for me). If you're stuck as to which method works for you, it might be worth a try. That's about it.

seun
12-23-2011, 03:07 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Mainly horror. Some fantasy.
How many books have you written: 11
Are you published? My first book is published in about a month.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Anywhere from a few days to ten years.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? I do a rough outline with a breakdown of scenes and a paragraph about character description.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? Three.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? Anywhere from six weeks to three months.
How long do revisions usually take you? Anywhere from two months to four.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? Not substantially. The basic plot is still here, just tweaked (and improved) from the first draft.

Linda Adams
12-23-2011, 04:18 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write:

Contemporary fantasy/thriller. Lots of action and ticking time bombs in fantasy

How many books have you written:

Just finished #5

Are you published?

In books, no. I plan to indie publish this year.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing?

It varies. I'm usually thinking about the next story as I'm winding down on the existing one.

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.?

The only things I'm doing now is research for the setting and theme and making a list of character names to draw from. No outlines, character sketches. Any diagrams of locations would be done during the final editing phase.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc):

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"?

That's still in transition, but my goal is one revision, and then the edits. I don't have a good answer because I always run short and have had to battle writing upwards, which takes a loooonnnggg time. That's one of the reasons I'm going indie so I can skip making word count.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

That's still in transition, but I'm shooting for three months on this next project.

How long do revisions usually take you?

Again, don't really don't know. I solved a lot of major issues on the last book that were contributing to longer revision times and gave up making word count, so that may change the playing field considerably.

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft?

Yes. The story may look nothing like the first draft. Even the scenes may not be in the same order.

shaldna
12-23-2011, 04:31 PM
[QUOTE=tlbodine;6845477]
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: ya, horror, sci-fi and fantasy, parnanormal
How many books have you written: around 20
Are you published? yes

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? depends on the story and what else i'm doing at the time, sometimes months, sometimes i start straight away
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? virtually none
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): i have a list of things i want to include

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? depends on the story. but i tend to do a first draft and one edit
How long does it take you to write a first draft? anywhere between a week and a couple of months
How long do revisions usually take you? less than a week
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? no

Buffysquirrel
12-23-2011, 05:05 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: I write SFF.
How many books have you written: erm. let's see. About 6.
Are you published? Not in novel form.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Usually, not long enough. You'd have to ask the subconscious, really, because it does most of the work. I'm often impressed by the way it manages to put in things I'll need later. But sometimes an idea can sit in my head for months if not years before I use it. The louder it clamours, the more chance it has of being written.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? I don't. Pantser all the way.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): N/A

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? Done? What's done? I'm never done. But the novel I'm fixing up right now is on its *counts* third draft and it's going to have at least 1 more.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? It depends. When I'm in the zone I can write 10k in a day, easy. That would mean I could knock out a first draft in 10 days. Ah, the zone.
How long do revisions usually take you? Well, I've been revising this trunk novel since the 14th of this month, and I'm almost done, though it needs new scenes I've still to write. However, the first draft was written a long time ago. Before 9/11, even. I hate to think HOW long ago.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? It depends. This one certainly is very different. One of my alt hist novels that I've substantially revised still has its original plot, despite all my attempts to make it more interesting.

jaksen
12-23-2011, 05:53 PM
omg a survey with some meat to it ...

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: mystery, sf, fantasy

How many books have you written: 9, but am published only in short fiction field (traditional magazine, pro-paying) 26 stories (most are long, novella-length but the magazine calls them short stories); also two stories in 'best of the year' hard cover anthologies

Are you published? yes, see above

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? days, weeks, years, all depends

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? None. All in me head

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): None

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? short stories, sometimes none or one at most; novels 3-5

How long does it take you to write a first draft? for a novel, 2-3 months; short story about 1-2 weeks

How long do revisions usually take you? for a novel, another month; for a short story a few days

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? No

French Maiden
12-23-2011, 06:14 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Paranormal Romance/Urnan fantasy.

How many books have you written: Unfinished books 4 (all co-written). Working on my first serious WIP.
Are you published? No.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? few weeks/months

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.?
I do alot of research on names, places etc. I do timelines of events that happen in chronological order. Some but not a huge amount of brain storming. A flexible plot. Extensive character templates. No scetches, all in my head, i go online and find random people who have similar features to my characters and sometime that helps with my picture memory.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): my own.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? Never finished a book before - I'll get back to you on that one :)
How long does it take you to write a first draft? As above.

How long do revisions usually take you? As Above

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? As above :)

bearilou
12-23-2011, 06:18 PM
It'll be interesting if a pattern develops but I'm not sure there will be.

Still! I like things like this. *pushes up sleeves and gets to work*

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Fantasy, UF, dabble in steampunk
How many books have you written: three
Are you published? sadly not yet, still writing/editing/polishing

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Usually simmers for a handful of months. Nothing longer than half a year.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? I will outline, sometimes I roughly map (or find a map that I need, if it's available), I'll do character dossiers mostly in the form of vignettes written to get a sense of their character.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): I love Snowflake as my starting point. Then I break out the index cards (or Scrivener). I'm also experimenting on a new project with writing a synposis first (ala Uncle Jim's method).

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? three to four
How long does it take you to write a first draft? Depends, really, but not on the complexity of the project but on the availability of time to write (familial obligations, etc)
How long do revisions usually take you? Usually half as long as it took me to write it.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? Nope.

dangerousbill
12-23-2011, 09:12 PM
Apologies if this has been done before...

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: erotica
How many books have you written: eight plus wip
Are you published? yes, twice

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? 1 week to two or three years


How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? an outline and sometimes a lot of research


If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): chapter list only

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? I rarely rewrite an entire draft at one time. Usually a few chapters are rewritten, plus a lot of smaller changes.


How long does it take you to write a first draft?
typically over a year

How long do revisions usually take you?
two to six months

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? no

quicklime
12-23-2011, 09:34 PM
Apologies if this has been done before...I see a lot of pantser vs plotter discussions and such, but I've not seen an actual survey on the topic. Fill out if you'd like :) I'll compile the results and see what, if any, pattern they give.

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: several, skewing towards horror and suspense
How many books have you written: finishing #1
Are you published? couple shorts in no-name to mid-tier magazines...nothing i would mention in my query

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? long as it takes to get comfortable with starting--i need to have a rough idea where I'm going. Not "116 Alabaster in Milwaukee" but at least "Southeast WI, near the lake" if that makes sense
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? just what i have above; a rough idea of the journey, usually the start and end with lots of gray in the middle
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc):

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? enough? maybe 2-3
How long does it take you to write a first draft? if i get off my ass, 2 months or less. to do that, i probably need to crash AW's site :-(
How long do revisions usually take you? month or two
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? just fuller

---------------

Basically, I'm curious whether outlining saves time, or if it just shifts the time expenditure to a different part of the process. And any other interesting data that comes of it.

I'll fill out my own responses in a sec.


i don't think your answers will really help you quantify enough to answer your original question. Outliners in general ay take longer, because they are more anal, or take less time, because, as a group they are more driven. Neither is going to tell you if you'd be faster, or I would, because there are many variables that can come into play. Still worth collecting the data, just be careful what conclusions you draw from it.

Layla Nahar
12-23-2011, 09:34 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Fantasy/SF
How many books have you written: Only shorts, on my first novel now
Are you published? no

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? At one time I did that, but I ran into trouble, getting too attached to the idea. Still I have a few ideas that I want to write, I've left them alone till I know I can turn out a comprehensive, compelling novel length story.
My current process is to come up with a title and start writing the story that goes with that title. So, I choose the title. Somtimes I start writing that BIC session, sometimes I take a day or two before I start. Depends on what all else I'm doing.

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.?
NONE - I found that I killed my stories by planning. I write by keeping in mind what a story 'feels' like. It's been helpful to keep in mind that one of the main things that makes a story compelling are the obstacles the MC has to overcome. I begin with thinking of what's the worst thing that can happen to this person, and I use that to set off the story. As the story goes on, I think of setbacks that can happen in the moment. I think it's important that each setback adds to the seriousness of the jeopardy the MC faces.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc):

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"?
I expect that I'll take two passes - a short first draft, then a pass to smooth things, and build up any 'lite' parts
How long does it take you to write a first draft? - let you know when its done.
How long do revisions usually take you? - see above
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? They are substantially the same.

Something I did that helped get a better sense of what a story feels like is to analyze books I loved. There are three books for which I wrote out a scene by scene summary, noting how the writer handled world building, character building, etc. I noted word count per scene, so when I was done I knew how many scenes in the book, and in each chapter, and how many words in a scene. I wrote a one sentence chapter summary, then a one sentence act summary, then (using the blurb, usually) a one sentence summary for the book. *that* helped a lot.

Lseeber
12-23-2011, 09:38 PM
Apologies if this has been done before...I see a lot of pantser vs plotter discussions and such, but I've not seen an actual survey on the topic. Fill out if you'd like :) I'll compile the results and see what, if any, pattern they give.

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction
How many books have you written: 2
Are you published? I've ghostwritten a few things out there, and I have a few of my pieces on the internet, but as to an actual book or short story with actual paper pages, not yet. I'm working on it though.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? At least a month, maybe two. Usually I have the story mostly written in my head before I even start to put fingers to keyboard.

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? Depends on the piece, but I would say on average about three to five hours of pre-planning after the simmer period is done.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): Umm.... not sure what snowflake is, and I'm always losing notecards, so traditional outline on scratch paper?

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? You mean there is a time when I'm done with a piece? Seriously, probably about four to five depending on the piece.

How long does it take you to write a first draft? Depends on the length, but if I sat down and typed straight through without life interrupting it would probably take me about seven to ten days.

How long do revisions usually take you? Again, depends on the piece, but usually somewhere between a few days to a week or two to get what I find acceptable.

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? Not usually. Like I said, I usually have the story pretty much written in my head before my hands hit the keyboard.

---------------

Basically, I'm curious whether outlining saves time, or if it just shifts the time expenditure to a different part of the process. And any other interesting data that comes of it.

I'll fill out my own responses in a sec.

:) Laura

The Lonely One
12-23-2011, 10:03 PM
Not sure if this is useful since I'm basing it on short fiction, but use my answers if you'd like. If not, no worries.

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: literary or science fiction
How many books have you written: none
Are you published? yes

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? not long. usually within the same day.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? usually none.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): none.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? around 5 (short story)
How long does it take you to write a first draft? sometimes weeks, sometimes a sitting.
How long do revisions usually take you? a week-ish
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? not always. sometimes.

toogrey2
12-23-2011, 11:48 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: scifi/fantast with romantic elements, women’s lit
How many books have you written: 3 finished- 3 unfinished.
Are you published? Couple of short stories, women’s lit

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Sometimes years, sometimes long enough to grab a pen and paper
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? None, I just write, after the first draft that’s when I draw my characters, do bios on them, maps, anything to help sharpen 2nd draft
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): No outline but I do carry a notebook around to jot down ideals, conversations, etc- that I refer to often


REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? 3-4 more if needed
How long does it take you to write a first draft? month for most, but I have been working on a sci/fi epic for 5 years.
How long do revisions usually take you? Six months to a year- I usually do 2-3 drafts then I put it away for awhile before final editing.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? no, plot wise it’s the same, just tweaking.

Jamesaritchie
12-24-2011, 12:14 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Western, Mystery, and MG.
How many books have you written: Depends on how you count them, but call it fifteen.
Are you published? Yes.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? I don't simmer at all. I find a title I like, sit down, and start writing.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? None.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): No outline of any kind.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? One.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? Anywhere from three weeks to four months. Depnds on how many otehr things I have going on.
How long do revisions usually take you? No revisions. I work on a page until I like it, and then leave it alone.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? No.

elindsen
12-24-2011, 12:31 AM
What genre do you write: Paranormal Romance and picture books
How many books have you written: 8
Are you published? Yes, in both adult and children's

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Depends. Sometimes a Hot idea hits me and I have to at least write a chapter to cool the burners. Sometimes I write other books before I get to an idea

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? My charcters talk to me so as far as what they look like I get images in my head. I know, sounds weird, right?

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): No outline. I'm a panster

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? About 4: a very rough draft, a cleaning up version then about 2 re-throughs to make sure it's polished

How long does it take you to write a first draft? It depends. My picture books maybe 2 hrs. SOUL took my three months. The sequel is almost done with first draft and it hasn't been a month yet. But I have a romance I've been working on since July

How long do revisions usually take you? Well, if I stay motivated, maybe a month or two. Although, Legnds has been taking me almost 2 yrs :(

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? Nope. I think a lot as I write and when I'm not writing I think about what to write, so I usually have it all ironed out

Amarie
12-24-2011, 12:37 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: middle grade and adult
How many books have you written: 4
Are you published? yes

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing?
a month

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.?
I research settings, brief character sketches but the main pre-story planning is in plotting

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc):
rough list of how plot moves forward

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"?
I edit heavily as I write, so when I'm done with a first draft it's fairly polished. Usually 2 to 3 after that.

How long does it take you to write a first draft? depends, fastest one was 4 months

How long do revisions usually take you? varies too much to say

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? No

virtue_summer
12-24-2011, 12:50 AM
I'll play.

DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Horror, science fiction, some mainstream, and occasional fantasy.
How many books have you written: 5 novel length manuscripts, four from when I was a teenager that I no longer have any intention of showing anyone.
Are you published? In short fiction. One story published, one recently sold.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Depends on the story. I usually start jotting down ideas right away.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? Depends on the story. I often write out a quick summary of the idea, then come up with a plot outline before expanding that into a draft.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): A synopsis type outline (So a man walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Hey." And the man...)

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? Depends on the story. Usually the outline, the draft, and a quick proof.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? Depends on the story. I used to be much faster. A short story maybe a few hours when I'm in the draft stage. A novel? Still figuring that out. Used to be a few weeks to a few months, but I have a sort of novel specific writer's block at the moment.
How long do revisions usually take you? Depends on the revisions that are needed. Not long, though. Figuring out the initial story is often the hardest part.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft?
The story or the characters always change in some way. Since I started outlining, though, they tend to change in the outline instead of the draft. That's one reason why I outline.

tlbodine
12-24-2011, 01:22 AM
It's interesting so far to see that we've got a lot more Pantsers responding....I was thinking there'd be more plotters, but maybe they're just more vocal?

Keep it comin', this is a lot of fun to read. Even if I can't substantiate any theories, if the only pattern that emerges is "there is no pattern!" then that's useful too.

VoireyLinger
12-24-2011, 01:44 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Romance, erotic romance and erotica
How many books have you written: Including the published short stories *counts* about nine? I think?
Are you published? yes

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Depends on the story. My first pubbed story simmered for ten years. My latest sale I started writing when I got an idea, contracted it about 8 weeks later... maybe less. My shorter stories simmer less because i can get them done and off my desk faster.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? None.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): No outline written, but I have the plot laid out in my head before I start writing. I can't write without a plot, my plot is just in my head instead of outlined.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? To me, a draft implies re-writing, so by my definition, I do one draft with about three rounds of crits and cleanups.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? I edit as I go for a relatively clean draft, I can do between 3K and 12k a week, depending on how well the story is flowing and real-life impediments.
How long do revisions usually take you? For every one week of writing, I have about 10 days in the revision process, including time waiting on crits.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? No. My plot is established early and unless a crit points out a major problem, my story only undergoes minor changes.

---------------

Basically, I'm curious whether outlining saves time, or if it just shifts the time expenditure to a different part of the process. And any other interesting data that comes of it.

I think there is no 'right' answer to this. Some writers need that hands-on plotting and building, others don't. For me, it's a bit of a waste of energy, not because it's not needed, but because the storybuilding happens on an almost subconscious level for me. The story just grows on its own... like a plant I just have to water occasionally and make sure I put in the sunshine. Not everyone can work this way, but other people have their own systems and it's all good.

Catalyn
12-24-2011, 02:53 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Fantasy
How many books have you written: 1 finished, 2 in various incomplete states
Are you published? No

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? I generally keep an idea in my mind for a few days to a week before I put anything down on paper. I find it helps me sort out where the plot could possibly go, and lets the characters develop
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? I do a plot outline of scenes I want to include, and the order to put them in. This usually changes as I start writing anyway, but to me it's a bit like setting off on a long journey with brief directions, rather than just aiming the car at a road and driving :)
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): I put each scene on an index card - this gives me the flexibility to move them around and try out different combinations of scenes. It also pleases my slightly-OCD brain to see all the cards laid out neatly in rows on the floor :)

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? I don't have anything that I would call "done" yet
How long does it take you to write a first draft? My finished novel was a Nano novel, so 30 days.... That's not typical at all though, and at my current rate I'd probably be looking at about 4 months
How long do revisions usually take you? Haven't properly revised yet
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? See above



I find that if I don't work on a basic outline first my writing turns into a great wandering mess, so for me it's not a matter of speeding the process up, it's a necessity.

Hope this helps!

Buffysquirrel
12-24-2011, 05:31 AM
It's interesting so far to see that we've got a lot more Pantsers responding....I was thinking there'd be more plotters, but maybe they're just more vocal?

Keep it comin', this is a lot of fun to read. Even if I can't substantiate any theories, if the only pattern that emerges is "there is no pattern!" then that's useful too.

The plotters are still outlining their responses.

KellyAssauer
12-24-2011, 06:43 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:

What genre do you write: I'm not a genre writer.
How many books have you written: Three
Are you published? Yes

PLANNING:

How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Ideas can come as I'm writing, or sit on a back burner for years.

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? Rough outline and detailed character sketches.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): Very basic outline.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? I write a single draft, chapter at a time.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?
A chapter can take a week.

How long do revisions usually take you?
I don't revise, I only edit.

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? The question doesn't apply since I write character driven stories, not plot driven stories.

CrastersBabies
12-24-2011, 06:44 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: epic fantasy, science-fiction, literary
How many books have you written: three
Are you published? yes

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Depends on the idea, but, on average, I get to taking notes ASAP and brainstorm as much as I can before filing it into my potential project folder. If another idea comes for that project, I'll add as I go but generally speaking, I like to get it "out" and on the page so I can focus on the project(s) at hand.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.?
I'm a big outliner. Weeks of outlining. Lots of detail.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): Chapter-by-chapter and character arc "sheets."

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"?
It varies. Anywhere from 6 to 10+, but I'm one of those people who feels the work is never really "done." :)

How long does it take you to write a first draft?
Last first draft (125k words) - 9 weeks.

How long do revisions usually take you?
5-6 months

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft?
The first book? Yes. Major plot changes.
Second/Third book? Not so much because I had a tighter outline

SRHowen
12-24-2011, 08:34 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: SciFi/fantasy, erotica, horror, dark fantasy
How many books have you written: 20 at least
Are you published? yes

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Zero, I sit I put fingers to keyboard, then write no idea what is coming out of the keyboard until I hit the first letter.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? zero
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): N/A

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? depends, and they are not really new drafts, as things I change are getting rid of pet words, and maybe adding to descriptions. I've been told they really are not drafts but editorial passes.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? 90k in 3 months depending on deadlines and life, current WIP 350k in less than 80 days
How long do revisions usually take you? for 90k about 10 days
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? not at all

Susan Littlefield
12-24-2011, 08:43 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Thriller, mystery.
How many books have you written: just one and working on another now.
Are you published? Just short stories and poetry.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? I'm not really sure. I get an idea and start writing, because if i don't I will forget it.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? None. I just write.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? Well, the novel I am in the process of querying went through about five drafts. I hope not to go through so many drafts in the future. This was my first novel.
How long does it take you to write a first draft?Gosh, I think the first draft of the current novel took about a year.
How long do revisions usually take you? Depends.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? I don't think they are.

Paper Princess
12-25-2011, 02:55 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Urban Fantasy, Sci Fi
How many books have you written: none finished so far
Are you published? no

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? I write it down, then I write it when I don't have something in mind.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.?
I like outlining, it's like a map, you can't go without it. I also like making character maps, and let my sisters sketch their portraits, becasue I am not a goo drawer
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc):

REVISING: I haven't really written something complete, so I can;t answer these.
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"?

How long does it take you to write a first draft?
How long do revisions usually take you?
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft?

Carrie in PA
12-25-2011, 03:42 AM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: contemporary romance

How many books have you written: 3 with many others in various stages

Are you published? Novels, no. But I've been a newspaper columnist for 16 years.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? Varies GREATLY. Anywhere from hours to years.

How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? I make notes as I go, but don't do much before I start writing.

If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc):

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? Technically, one.

How long does it take you to write a first draft? Forever. I edit and polish as I go

How long do revisions usually take you? No idea since I revise as I go.

Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? n/a


I think it's really neat to see how other writers work. It's cool to see so many viable approaches to writing.

Rain Gnome
12-25-2011, 12:05 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Mystery, Horror.
How many books have you written: 5
Are you published? No

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? I try and get to the idea as fast as possible, the longer I let it simmer, the less interest I have in writing it
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? Only a few general ideas while writing the novel before it, but when I finish one novel I start immediately into the next one with very little idea where it's going to go.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): N/A

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? I'm still at about 6 or 7
How long does it take you to write a first draft? 3 to 4 months
How long do revisions usually take you? A single revision used to take 3-4 months. But I've recently upped my game, and the last revision took 2 months.
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? No.

A La Vanille
12-25-2011, 01:30 PM
DEMOGRAPHICS:
What genre do you write: Mainly YA Contemporary, but also YA/MG Fantasy
How many books have you written: Four completed novels.
Are you published? Nope. Unless you count that one anthology.

PLANNING:
How long do you let an idea "simmer" before you start writing? It's difficult to say because if I allow stories to simmer for too long then I lose interest in it, so once I get an idea, I have to start on it right away to keep up the excitement and enthusiasm.
How much pre-story planning do you do in the form of outlines, character sketches, maps, etc.? HA. None. I've tried all that. Snowflake method. Character sketches. It all ruins the writing process for me.
If you use an outline, what type do you use (snowflake, index card, etc): When I begin a story, usually I only have the premise of it. I'll continue to outline and brainstorm as I continue writing, but the outline will only be a word document, most likely broken down into chapters, with not much detail.

REVISING:
How many drafts do you usually go through before you're "done"? Blah. I'm bad at editing. The most I've revised is two drafts.
How long does it take you to write a first draft? Two months.
How long do revisions usually take you? Two days -- a week. (See? I'm terrible).
Are your revised drafts substantially different plot-wise from your first draft? No. I don't like changing much from my first draft, so my revisions will probably just be minor issues and tightening up some places.