The 2 Kinds of Writers: Architects and Gardeners

99U posted this insight from Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin’s interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.  Discussing his writing process both as a scriptwriter and a novelist, Martin says there are two distinct approaches to telling a story:

There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up. I think all writers are partly architects and partly gardeners, but they tend to one side or another, and I am definitely more of a gardener. In my Hollywood years when everything does work on outlines, I had to put on my architect’s clothes and pretend to be an architect. But my natural inclinations, the way I work, is to give my characters the head and to follow them.

For most writers I know, their approach changes depending on the script and their place in the process.  But this still remains a really interesting way to think about and identify your natural tendencies for getting into a story.  (And as someone who leans more towards being a gardener, it’s always nice to have confirmation that waiting to “see what comes up” can in fact be a perfect valid writing strategy!)

Source:  99U

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