Discussion What Type of Writer Are You?

Are you a Gardener or an Architect?

  • Gardener

    Votes: 18 85.7%
  • Architect

    Votes: 3 14.3%

  • Total voters
    21

Gerra

The Emperor
The Empire
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A while ago I listened to some lessons on writing from Brandon Sanderson, which discussed that there are two different types of writers. There are architects and there are gardeners. Architects have to have everything planned out beforehand and spend an extensive amount of time outlining the world, the politics, the characters, to make sure everything fits together seamlessly in the plot. Their main weakness is that their characters are not as compelling as Gardeners. Gardeners start off writing from the gate. As they write, they discover their story and their characters, which typically gives the characters a more interesting feel than architects. Then they go back and "prune" what they've written and keep writing. Their main weakness is that their plots aren't as neatly packaged as Architects and often end abruptly.

Brandon Sanderson is an architect. Stephen King is a gardener.

Which type of writer are you?
 

Spencer

Greatest Mage in the World
Elbion College
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Total Gardener, I love seeing the character come alive and grow through their experiences. It keeps me invested in the character as I am just as changed, surprised and moved as the character is. I feel it provides an authentic air about the character - they feel rooted in their environment.

My favorite character that I've written fully with this style was Spencer Jacobs who some know of. She was a blank slate that changed and molded through her relationships with other characters and her ever changing environment
 
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TTamark

Steve Will's son
Eternum
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232
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Well Depends on the time of day. I do my daily life stuff, and in the back of my head a little man works out all the cool plots, settings, characters, and things I would love to do. When I usually get to writing I mostly ignore what I planned and let the character, and world grow from who I am at that moment.

So I want to say that I am a gardener, but I have already built something before I start writing. Unfortunately that can mean that I don't always get everything in I want because I have already decided and know how things are, so why would I need to talk about it? :p

Kinda like this:
 

Ava Gilleth

Vizier of Imperial Intelligence
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81
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99% a Gardener. My greatest characters have had completely natural growth and story lines. I do however, have a tendency to abandon things because i feel they lack structure or purpose, so part of me needs a little bit of direction and planning. But only a tiny part
 

Nina

Member
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I don't know. I guess for me it's more helpful to think in terms not of different writer types, but of different writing processes (creating/editing).

For example, during a more creative spell, I might write quite a bit for my story, but not all of it makes sense. This might be part of the actual story, or it might be notes on culture/locations/clothing. During the editing phase, I go through what I wrote and look at it more critically. The editing might involve small things like word choice, or larger things like pacing/order of events in a plot/character use. All writers do both, to varying extents. It is the extremes which are dangerous (For example, I get anxious about everything not being perfect and as such I don't write; roleplaying is helpful for me because I can write without worrying as much about everything being perfect).

I feel that the architect ideal of expecting to write everything perfectly once you have an idea for a set-up would create a lot of unneccesary presure; similarly, in the gardener description, it feels lazy to not go back and edit the plot to be better*

*I am reffering to published/publishable novels. Due to its collaborative nature, roleplaying is inherently more gardening, and I absolutely love it this way. Although it's also true that many people build their obelisks (of plot) within the jungle!

I feel that classifying Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King as architect and, respectively, gardener, obscures some of the real differences between their genres. Stephen King can afford to not start with an elaborate set-up of cultures, world, politics - his settings are similar to the real world, so he doesn't need that. The life of his novels lies, superficially, in a frightening gimmick, but more importantly in his characters. Perhaps he could be seen as an architect of characters?

Characters and plot coherence are only two of the ways that authors can shine. I've read books were both were meh, but the setting was absolutely astonishing. I've read stories were none of these things were memorable, but they were saved by humor in the narration.

But...I guess the very best books tend to shine in the attention paid to all, or most of these things. And, like all writing, it's a process of creating and editing...on repeat )
 

Harrier

Necromancer
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266
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100% gardener. I've tried being an architect and it bores the crap out of me. I'd far rather explore alongside the viewpoint characters and see where it takes me. If that means trashing a few false starts, so be it.
 

Velaeri

Judgemental Catbird
Staff
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Depends entirely upon the character and setting for me.

I've gotten some pretty damn fun characters out of strict gardening. I've gotten some awesome plots and characters out of architect-ing. Some characters I simply craft a bare-bones start for them (Fieravene for example) and let their environment help shape who they are. Others I build from the foundation up (Maude) and create an entire culture, setting, and society for them to belong to.

I have no preference nor does one way seem to work better than the other for me. My best characters are the ones I can pair with other great characters that help drive the story.
 
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ZafiraJade

Zafira Jade
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Gardener.

I love the structure that architects have but when I start planning and writing down every detail, I feel like it takes out the fun from writing. The passion feels dimmed and a lot more clinical to me. Not to say that being somewhat of an architect wouldn't be a good thing.

I also love seeing how my characters practically take over. It's as if their guiding me versus the other way around :p
 

Tenrof

A Shadow out of Time
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I consider myself to be both. Depending on the characters and the setting where the adventure unfolds.

But really, I'm of the opinion people can write however they darn tootin' well wish. And I as a fellow apprentice of the arts, wish em luck.

I'm an architect in the sense the world and the setting is already there. Ripe and ready for people to start poppin out like rabbits and do their own thing. Rules, Laws, Systems, and the like are all there and functioning.

The people that live in it are mixed. Either I use the fertilizer equivalent of the Tsar Bomba, and let the seeds of inspiration go nova, or I take a pen, pencil, paper, and maybe a scalpel or two to make a complete template.

Fun fact, i have a habit of reusing existing templates to figure out how best it might be presented. Traecon, Mualiin, and Focraig'Diin have been used at least 3 times each, in different format before being presented in the current iteration I'm using now. Kinda wasteful to just throw away characters when they can be repurposed or remade.
 
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Maho 'Jerik' Sparhawk

The man who sold the World
The Empire
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Total Gardener.

I like to have a structure, but writing - on a forum like this especially - it's the dynamic between characters that I think truly makes writing spicy. I mean, not knowing what's coming next, and adapting, is what helps us grow more as writers, and allows our characters to flourish, methinks.

Then again, characters with completely unstructured plot in novel form can be a bit rubbish.

But hey, I'm no writer.

 
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Warlord

Member
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I think a combination of both.

Writing characters I like to have a clear idea of their abilities, backgrounds, personalities, etc before playing them which I imagine runs parallel to how an Architect might organize things however in an actual story I prefer things to be fluid; I hate predetermined outcomes but can see the advantage of using them occasionally which is probably more in line with a Gardener.
 

Acteon Cass

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When it comes to world building I am an architect. When it comes to characters I am a gardener. The gardener aspect is even more so for RP forums. I don't like to restrict my characters as the joy of RP is the cooperative writing and you can never have full control if others are involved. So I don't try to. I just let my characters run wild and see where we end up together in the end.