Writing Hour Roundup: 7 March 2023

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“The People’s Friend” Writing Hour is held every Tuesday at 11 a.m. on Twitter. It’s a time when we can get together with writers for a chat and it’s always heaps of fun!

Every week we summarise everything that went on right here for those who missed out.

The ultimate debate – are you a planner or a pantser?

It’s often said there are two types of writer – a planner or a pantser. A planner figures everything out and plots the story out before they start, a pantser more makes it up as they go, ‘flying by the seat of their pants’.

Majority of you seemed to be a pantser, or at least with very little planning, preferring to let your characters tell you the story as you go. However, writers who tend towards historical fiction or writing serials need to do lots of planning and research in advance!

Definitely a pantser. I never quite know what is going to happen later in the story. The characters take on a life of their own.

— Philippa Carey (@PCarey_author)

What do you use to write with?

There are so many writing tools and formats out there now. We wanted to know what your preferences were, expecting Google Docs or Microsoft Word, with some tools like Scrivener thrown in.

We were surprised to hear how many of you still prefer hand writing your drafts, or at least the plans! Louise even treated us to a sneak peek at how she uses Teeline shorthand to make notes.

Dictation on Microsoft word as have a bit of arthritis in fingers. Big A4 notebooks to hand write. Blank unlined paper as have really big handwriting. Oh and Teeline shorthand from journalism training days. Illegible to anyone but me 😊


— Louise McIvor (@lou_mcivor)

What’s more important to you — world building, plot or characters?

This question definitely split opinion, with a mixed bag of results!

Some of you said that everything else about the story could be average, but good characters would keep you hooked. Lots of you said you couldn’t possibly choose between as they’re all equally important. Some said that crime or mystery stories simply don’t work without a good plot! So, perhaps Kitty-Lydia was right when she said it depends on the genre.

It depends on genre. For historical and fantasy I prefer character driven stories, sci-fi it’s the worldbuilding and a good mystery always needs a well planned plot 🙂 #PFWritingHour

— Kitty-Lydia Dye (@KittyLydiaDye)

Which author or person is your biggest inspiration and why?

This answer pulled on our heartstrings as many of you mentioned family members, or even teachers.

Some of the authors mentioned included Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Alice Munro and more.

Which book could you read repeatedly without ever getting bored?

Lots of classics mentioned here — Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, even Lord of the Rings.

Terry Pratchett, one of the most re-readable authors there is, also got a mention. Some of you weren’t big on re-reading, or had only re-read something they’d not read in a really long time.

Share some little successes of the past week!

It’s important to celebrate ourselves and each other so we wanted to hear your little wins from the previous week.

Lots of you had some writing wins, from finishing stories to having poetry and stories accepted by us at the “Friend”. We especially enjoyed that Alison was finally able to find some peppers in her food shop after a few weeks of missing peppers!

But we were most overjoyed to hear that Diane had found their missing cat, healthy and well.

We found our cat, who was currently missing this time last week, alive and well if a little hungry after a week-long adventure. #PFWritingHour

— Diane Wordsworth (@DMWordsworth)

We’ll see you at our next Writing Hour on Twitter — 11 a.m. on Tuesday 14 March, 2023.

Or catch up on our previous roundups.

Jacqueline Munro

Jacqueline is the Digital Content Editor at "The People's Friend", looking after our website, social media channels and podcast.