When it comes to writing, most authors are either plotters, or pantsers…
A plotter is someone who plots out their story from beginning to end. They have journals, story boards, or notes galore where they jot down their story’s beginning, middle, and end. They know exactly what will happen and when, before they ever sit down and type out the first words. It is normally very organized and well thought out.
A pantser writes by the seat of their pants so to speak. They have a general idea of what will happen, but they figure out all the details and the sequence they will happen after they start writing. This is sometimes also called organic writing because it happens naturally, and can be less restraining than the plotting method, if a little more messy.
What am I you might ask…well, I’m more of a plantser. I live somewhere between the two. My process starts by taking the idea I have, and writing down the major points. Then I take my major points and break them down: why the main character needs to do this or that, what drives the story, who the bad guys are and why, and so forth. Then I start writing, and the rest of the story fills in as I go. I can’t tell you how many times where I thought I was going in a story took a completely different path and ended up somewhere unexpected. But how is that possible? I’m the one writing the story, I should know exactly where each part of the story is headed and every detail right?
Yes, and no…as a writer, there are times when I think, “the next logical step is…” and I try to take the story in that direction, but I hit the dreaded brick wall that is writer’s block. For whatever reason, the story just doesn’t come to me any more. After fighting with it for a while, I’ve learned to sit back, reread it and write down the first thing that comes to mind, even if it isn’t necessarily the next logical step of the story. Nine times out of ten, whatever I jotted down will spark my creativity and get me rolling again, and it’ll be in a different direction from where I was initially trying to go.
If I try to follow a plotting strategy too closely, it’s as though my mind gets bogged down and the creativity stalls out. If I try to be a complete pantser, my story seems to unravel in spots and fall apart. It needs that structure plotting provides without the restriction. So I happily live in the middle of these two worlds as a plantser…and I’m proud of it. It’s what works for me. Are you a plotter or pantser, or are you a plantser like me? Leave me a comment to let me know.
Happy plotting, pantsing, or plantsing!!