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Friday, May 13, 2016

Are You a Plotter, a Panster or a Plantser?

           Credit images: Wisegeek.com, Theskichannel.com and
Happy Friday! Well, maybe not so happy for me as I’m sneezing, sniffling, stuffed up and coughing. What a way to end my first week of blog posts on Unicorn Bell.
Anyways, there are different types of writers. Not only in what they write but also in how they write their stories. Whether it’s romances, fantasies, science fiction, historical fiction, memoirs or literary fiction. And no matter if it’s middle grade, young adult, new adult or adult. We all have a preferred writing process to the stories we write. And they’re happen to be three process categories fall into.
If you’re a plotter, then you’re architect type. From beginning to end, plotters know how their story will progress. They have outlined and pre-plotted everything. They’ve laid the foundations for which to build their story from. On the downside, it leaves little room for flexibility. And if they happen to get stuck, they return to the drawing board (their outline) and might start anew.
You’re not a plotter? Then you might be on the other side of the spectrum, a pantser. If a plotter is the architect, then the pantser is a daredevil. They sit in front of a computer or a blank page and fly. They dive in head first, letting their imagination splash across the pages. They do not outline. They prefer their characters, scenes, storyline, etc. to unfold before their eyes. Unfortunately, a pantser’s downside is that the story can run amok. With no guideposts to keep the story on track.
You’re not a plotter but don’t think you’re a pantser either? Then you might be like me, who straddle the best of both worlds, a plantser. A plantser outlines and pre-plots yet only have a general idea of how the story begins, climaxes and ends. Like the plotter, they’ll have character profiles/dossiers. Like the pantser, they let their characters have free reign over the story. The writer doesn’t know where the story is going as they take a back seat. And release control to let their characters fuel the story forward. Trusting them in telling their story as it unfolds. And oftentimes, they’d stray away from the outline. For example, the heroine in my current WIP, changed her older brother into her younger brother.
So, which team are you on? Are you a plotter, pantser or plantser? What do you like about being either? Have you ever changed teams before?


Chrys Fey said...

I'm usually a plotter, but with my current WIP I'm more of a plantser. I actually started writing it without much of a clue other than the disaster ;) and the end, which is odd for me and might explain why I'm struggling.

Kelly Hashway said...

It really depends on the book. Sometimes I have over 20 pages of planning before I write. Other times I write the equivalent of a back cover blurb and go from there. And other times still, I just pants the whole darn thing. ;)

D.G. Hudson said...

I'm more inclined to be a plantser (sounds like gardening) I do draw up outlines and character studies, but I don't follow it exactly, it's a guide. That leaves room for flexibility. I give my characters some leeway in how they interact.

Patchi said...

I thought I was more on the pantser side of the spectrum, but I don't start drafting in a void. I'm a dreamer, telling myself the story idea over and over until I decide I like it enough to do something about it. I'm a note-taker, filling a notebook with scene snippets and world/character ideas until I understand the ins and outs of the story. Maybe that makes me a plotter, but I'm definitely not that organized. Must be a plantser then :)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Definitely a pantser. I am trying to plot more but I keep falling off the wagon.

Lidy said...

@chrys I understand. I tried plotting and pantsing and will find myself struggling, especially in the middle.

@kelly I see you're jack of all trades with your writing process.

@DG hello fellow plantser. I love the flexibility plantsing bring. And the surprises my characters bring.

@patchi I once thought I was a pantser too but will make notes about the story. But whether as a pantser or a plotter I'd still find myself struggling with the story. But then I wondered it had to be either or when I can both plot and pants.

Lidy said...

@sheena sorry to hear you keep falling off the plotting wagon. Keep trying though and if still doesn't work out then keep calm and pants.

Darla M Sands said...

I have never succeeded in plotting, characters telling *me* their stories. ~grin~ Lately, though, I'm not really writing at all. And it's too bad because the act brings me such joy. I really need to get back on that horse. Happy writing to you, my dear!

Liz A. said...

I'm a plotter, but with flexibility. I don't mind straying from my outline as sometimes something different comes up as I'm writing. I get back on track pretty quickly when that happens. It only enhances what I had planned.

Unknown said...

Definitely a plantser. I try so hard to plot, but my characters tend to do their own thing whether I want them to or not!

Angela said...

I would say I'm more of a pantser. If I do write any kind of notes or anything like that, it's to clarify in my head certain aspects of the story that I've already written. Several years ago, I wrote a story for a submissions call and I realized that the story was just part of a larger story that actually had series potential. So I wrote out the key elements that were basically the backstory of the shorter piece, but which were integral to the larger story so I could keep it straight, and I also wrote out the important aspects of the physiology and culture of the main race of people in the story. I'm also in the process of creating a map of the world the story is set in. Other than that, I'm not really planning out the story itself. It'll play itself out as it plays out. This is the first time I've ever written anything out like this. The only other time I did something similar was when I created a genealogy for a character so I could keep her ancestors straight. I still consider myself to primarily be a pantser.