By Jennie Atkins
I’ve been going back through some older articles on writing. I found one I’d ripped out of the Romance Writers of America RWR, March 2012 edition called “Left Brain or Right Brain”, that I found quite interesting.
From the time I started writing, there seemed to be a difference of opinion between writers on the best approach the writing process. You have those on one side who claim plotting out their work is the only way to write a novel, then to the far left are the pansters, those who write the scene as it comes to them uninhibited by the structure of an outline. It often left me wondering, which way is right?
It’s all in our genetic makeup. Left brainers tend to be logical and make lists, including a detailed outline of their work in process. And they’re satisfied with knowing the path of the story. Every detail is planned down to the delivery of the novel to the editor, which by the way, is usually on time! The down side is they’re afraid to take a chance and deviate from the outline.
Right brainers are spontaneous, they can write the scenes out of order, and feel like they’re on a wonderful adventure with their characters. They let the characters lead the way, even if it gets them in trouble. The downside, is spontaneity will often lead to disconnected scenes and a lot of rework.
So if you’re wondering where you stand, here is a brief list taken straight from the article.
Left brained writers:
- Like to plan out most aspect of their life
- Don’t work well with distractions
- Tend toward step-by-step learning
- Zero in on details rather than the overall pattern
- Like a structured environment
- Make decisions based on logic, facts, and reason
- Like to do one thing at a time
- Enjoy learning when facts and numbers are presented
- Learn best when new information is presented in sequential form
Right brained writers:
- Have only the most general of ideas of where their story is going
- They are spontaneous in how they live their life, as well as how they write
- They make decisions based on intuition and emotion
- They expect your characters to explain what they’re going to do next
- They don’t mind if the story diverges from what they expected
- They learn best when information is presented in anecdotal or story form
- Respond better to lessons that can relate to on a personal level rather an an abstract level
- Respond well to visual learning
- Can work with distractions
After reading this article I’ve decided I am definitely left brained with some right brained tendencies. By understanding how we think, we can take advantage of our strengths and plan for our weaknesses.
Your turn: What are you?