Architect versus Gardener

I just spent about five hours total putting all the novel/short story ideas I have rattling around in my head into a coherent readable format. As I was pounding the keyboard and feeling the slight warmth of my laptop flow over my nethers, I realized a gross misconception about myself, I’m not a gardener. For those who don’t know what I am referring to, let me summarize. George R.R. Martin said that word monkeys can be categorized as two types of writers, or at least a mixture. One being an architect, this wordsmith plans out the plot, world, characters, etc, making a frame of a story then filling it in. The other type is a gardener who puts his ideas in fertile soil and watches them grow naturally and discovers things first hand much as a reader would. Most people are some combination of the two, leaning one way or the other. Do you know which you are?

I have always thought of myself as a gardener. A lot of times I will listlessly make words dance on my computer screen and push myself to create something new and interesting. In doing so I have discovered that I have created a means to jig around the abominable non-existent writer’s block monster and force myself to hone skills and ideas in ways that only pulpy creative juices can make you see Jesus in your toast. Perhaps that is the definition of insanity, but I like to call it my creative process. Back on track, I am organizing all of my ideas, putting them in order, highlighting overall main and sub plot points, coloring in tidbits of world-building detail, and what have you when I realize that I already have each story idea planned out in annoying detail. As I smite my ideas with bulleted text and bold font I slowly realize that I am more of an architect than a gardener. It blew my mind. It is like discovering you are color blind or that Santa Clause doesn’t exist.   What started out as a quick notepad so I don’t lose any ideas to the void of time, turned into a mini bibliography of great detail from the future, I hope……

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5 thoughts on “Architect versus Gardener

  1. Clint says:

    I think I lean more to the gardener style. As I think up a plot I slowly discover elements to a story.

    • Frank Bishop says:

      I always thought that was how I was. I would get an overall idea then just attack it with creative fervor and see where it went. Turns out somewhere in the sub-cockles of my mind I was building something without realizing it.

      I still have big love for the gardeners though.

  2. Alaric Rays says:

    I’m a bit of a mixture methinks. Some things I feel need to be written out to get a better grasp on(i.e. details about the landscape/world/relgion/yadda yadda) other things I prefer to seed and see who/what they are like characters and wombs.

  3. alexapreece says:

    I think I’m a gardener for the most part, though I have some architect qualities. I like free-flow, organic writing best of all – it’s the style that I find suits me – but I do like to have a general idea of what’s supposed to happen. Not that it always happens the way I plan, of course, but that’s what makes it fun!

    • Frank Bishop says:

      Exactly, sometimes half of the fun is seeing where you end up. I have learned to let my more organic ideas to grow, but it is a struggle for me. I envy your more open and free writing spirit. Thanks for the comment.

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