Magical Words: Bashers vs. Swoopers

Photo by Don Stott on Unsplash

I’m pretty sure everyone reading my blog at this point knows if they are a plotter or pantser. I’m a mix – plotter – extremely so – for long works … which is one of the reasons I think they never get done; I get caught up in the wonder of worldbuilding. On the other side of things, I’m a pantser for shorter works – embracing the joy of writing quick flashes to get story ideas out. Right now I trying to see if I can plot with one sentence for a chapter outline, a very lean outline of just one or two dozen thoughts, then pants each chapter back-to-back.

I’m still, after all this time, learning to write effectively and productively, as well as embracing into the joy and wonder that has kept me exploring writing for so long.

Edmund Schubert in his Magical Words post from June 8, 2012 raises a similar question – “Bashers vs. Swoopers.” These are terms Kurt Vonnegut used to discuss writing styles. Swoopers write quickly, like a flash or Nanowrimo, planning to fix-things-in-post and Bashers move forward one written then hardened then polished sentence at a time. It’s an interesting thought.


WRITING EXERCISE: Comment below on your writing style below. Are you are plotter or pantser; swooper or basher?

My Attempt: I’ve already covered the plotter vs. pantser above. As to Swooper or Basher, I’m about halfway between. I do a lot of internal editing as I go. I guess I write about half as many words as actually make it to the final computer screen by the end of the first draft. So not a willy-nilly breakneck past down the hill in a soapbox cart, but not a snail-pace crawl of back-stitches with two steps back for every step forward. After the zero-draft is done for pantsing flashes and blog posts, I read it through – then copy it to a different program which will make it appear differently on the screen and read it again. Then post it. After all these aren’t sales product. Short stories and novellas – they get REAL drafts – multiple passes with days and even weeks of “rest” time before the next pass. So I am a Swoop-Basher in both plotter and pantser mode.

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