What kind of writer are you?
I draw from the wisdom of two great writers in exploring this topic. First, Kurt Vonnegut, who said, “Tellers of stories with ink on paper, not that they matter anymore, have been either swoopers or bashers.” In one of his fiction workshops, Brandon Sanderson described writers as either architects or discoverers.
Now that I’ve linked my sources, let’s examine these species, shall we?
Strengths: Consistent. And when they’re done, they’re done.
Weaknesses: Potentially slow, due to over-analyzing and gut-wrenching self doubt. Also, there is possible risk of blood oozing from their ears if left alone with their writing for too long.
How to Combat a Basher: Deadlines.
Fighting style: Swoopers write a story quickly, “higgledly-piggledy, crinkum-crankum,” any which way. Then they go over it again, fixing everything that doesn’t work.
Strengths: Prolific, swoopers will finish a lot. They find life wonderful, tragic and interesting and can jot life’s intricacies as they come.
Weaknesses: A tendency to grow bored with a project and move on before it’s finished. The editing process is brutal and time-consuming and expose their vulnerability.
How to Combat a Swooper: Dangle something shiny in front of them as distraction.
Strengths: Research is infallible, plot holes few and far between. Usually adept at meeting deadlines and achieving goals. And, in the case of Fantasy Architects, world-building is unbeatable.
Weaknesses: Architects often spend so long in the preparing and planning stage, they never actually get to any writing, rendering them mostly useless. Also, work can lose effects of spontaneity.
How to Combat an Architect: Sneak in and steal their guidebooks and detailed plans. Desperate incompetency is assured.
Fighting style: Discoverers habitually get three chapters into a book, and then, discovering some new way to portray their work, go back and revise over and over.
Strengths: Work consistently improves and they can naturally self-edit. Delivers phenomenal attacks in periods of “burst writing.” If they finish, work usually needs little to no revising (similar to Bashers, in that respect).
Weaknesses: Rarely finishes a book, trapped in the hypnotic lull of over-revising. Often unsatisfied and self conscious.
How to Combat a Discoverer: Point out a flaw in their first chapter.
What kind of writer am I? I am a fearsome Swooper-Architect combo, dependent on outlines, but racing through each outline-turned-draft with speed, until finally the seventh or eighth outline-turned-draft resembles something like literature.