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Old 08-21-2011, 03:53 AM View Post #1 (Link) The Gardener versus the Architect
Dabs (Offline)
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A few days ago I watched an interview with George R.R. Martin on Youtube. During one section, the interview mentioned that many of Martin's scenes in Game of Thrones felt very organic, and Martin went off to say that there are two kinds of writers: the gardens and the architects. The architect plans things very thoroughly, while the gardener just plants the seed and adds a little bit of water every now and then, and just kind of sits back and watches the plant grow.

I'd like like to examine the specifics of this, a bit. Hopefully by understanding them you can get an idea of where you stand and what works best for you.

The architect, as I said before, is the one who plots and plans things very thoroughly. He knows everything that happens before he puts his fingers to the keyboard (or pen to the paper, what have you). Obviously every writer should have an idea of what's going to happen in their story, but the architect has a better grip on the smaller details and subtleties between the characters.

I think the most beneficial aspects of this style are:

1. Knowing what's going to happen to your characters
2. Keeping the plot tight
3. Knowing what's going to happen between your characters

It's a kind of knowledge is power approach, I suppose, and if you know what's going to happen down to the last detail it prevents you from overwriting between the more important scenes--rather, the slow parts and the dramatic parts.

The gardener is the one who will allow things to flow in a more spontaneous manner. He knows what's going to happen in the big scenes, but he still allows for some wiggle room in between all of that. The gardener allows subtleties and relationships to progress as he writes, rather than having them plotted out before hand.

I think the most beneficial aspects of this style are:

1. Allowing for spontaneity
2. Perhaps allowing certain characters to grow in ways you didn't expect them
3. Allowing for you to head in a direction you didn't think you would

I think everyone is a little bit of both. No one plots so much that they know every single minuscule detail in a story, and no one is so frivolous that they just let random things pour out of their head.

Personally, I think I'm more of an architect. I like to know where things are going, and while I do allow moments of spontaneity to seep into my writing, I think it's better to know the subtle things before you head into them. It keeps my writing much more focused.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:56 AM View Post #2 (Link)
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In my opinion, I'm a gardener who wants to be an architect. I just let things come out of my head because I can't put down a plot.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:36 PM View Post #3 (Link)
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<3 Martin.

I'm an architect who thinks being a gardener is more romantic. But honestly, I've tried it both ways. When I garden a novel, I end up having to go back to plan and then throw out half of what I've written, grumbling about how I wasted my time writing 50,000 words. But when I architect, I end up having to go back to plan, grumbling about how I wasted my time writing 20,000 words. So there is a difference.


FLOWER-----------------------------------------------------------x-------------------------FLOOR PLAN

x=me
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:00 PM View Post #4 (Link)
Mercy (Offline)
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I'm a gardener, because if I try to be an architect, the story dies before I can actually write it. It's almost like my brain considers the story already written if I plan to much, so I have to tread carefully when doing so.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:43 AM View Post #5 (Link)
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I'm a gardener who tries to be an architect but ends up epically failing.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:19 AM View Post #6 (Link)
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I'm more gardener, but.
Poems I'm more gardener. If I don't have pen&paper I think out a poem in detail before writing it (when I do have pen&paper). But then, in writing it, the poem changes again. I write it out many times in various forms...
Stories. I never get them written. I have an entire plot, though I can't say I know exactly what happens between characters. I have a surprisingly good idea of how that goes, and I've written a sort of synopsis: I know the larger plot from beginning to end. But I'll never get it written, so it's useless....

Couple'a questions.
Can a writer choose which to be? Judging from earlier replies he can't, but couldn't a gardener, by stubborness, start planning, or a architect... well, it would be harder to stop planning, I'd think.
Is architect better, then? I hear people wanting to be architects when they're gardeners. Maybe it is better for writing stories. But I'd rather be a gardener..
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:31 AM View Post #7 (Link)
Alice Glitterhorn (Offline)
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I'm sort of in the middle. I can't write a story without plotting first.

However, with my current novel, I planned everything out as I usually do. But while writing, I added so many elements to it that I hadn't planned. Half the time, what I've added is a good idea, and half the time, I'm sort of stuck with it and have no idea how to tie it all together. I'm getting close to the end now, and there are so many things I don't know what to do with, and it's very frustrating.

I'd rather be an architect with just a bit of gardener, to keep it fresh - but I don't like adding so many things and not knowing how to tie up the loose ends.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:04 AM View Post #8 (Link)
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Definitely a gardener. I've tried being an architect before, didn't work out. I got bored very quickly with the novel. I need room to breathe, to grow, and to come up with better ideas.

And, like Carr said, Martin <3. It works for him, hopefully it'll work for me.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:32 AM View Post #9 (Link)
Dabs (Offline)
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Originally Posted by lalodragon View Post
I'm more gardener, but.
Poems I'm more gardener. If I don't have pen&paper I think out a poem in detail before writing it (when I do have pen&paper). But then, in writing it, the poem changes again. I write it out many times in various forms...
Stories. I never get them written. I have an entire plot, though I can't say I know exactly what happens between characters. I have a surprisingly good idea of how that goes, and I've written a sort of synopsis: I know the larger plot from beginning to end. But I'll never get it written, so it's useless....

Couple'a questions.
Can a writer choose which to be? Judging from earlier replies he can't, but couldn't a gardener, by stubborness, start planning, or a architect... well, it would be harder to stop planning, I'd think.
Is architect better, then? I hear people wanting to be architects when they're gardeners. Maybe it is better for writing stories. But I'd rather be a gardener..
In regards to your questions:

I think you can make decisions about this if you're aware of it. You can't really fight your own nature, but you be conscious about what you're doing. So yes, I think you can choose. I can do both, for instance, though I'm more of an architect.

I don't think one is better than the other, which is why I tried to explain their pros and cons.

In regards to your comment about how you can't seem to get stories written: I suggest you try NaNoWriMo. That way you can kinda just focus more on the writing and less on the plotting and actually get stuff written. That's what helped me get comfortable with hitting the 50,000 word mark.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:11 PM View Post #10 (Link)
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I'd say I'm a gardener but I force myself to be an architect when I start something new, otherwise I get five chapters in and realise the flower has died...
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