Pantsers and Plotters – Finding a Middle Ground

Okay – I’ll be honest. I have a completely different post I wanted to write. I wanted to show all you the cool swag I ordered for the launch. But then I thought, no…it hould be a surprise. The problem with that – I am so LOUSY at surprises. I get too excited and I HAVE to share.

But, I’m being strong this time…really, I am. At least, I’m trying. Gott wait two weeks until I share…gotta

So, I pulled out this post instead:

Plotters

Pantsers

Most writers I know fall into one of two categories – those that plot and those that do not. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

For the plotter, writing blocks seldom happen. The story is carefully laid out – not too many subplots, not to many details to resolve in the end.  Writers in this category have no problem writing a synopsis long before the story is ever finished.

As nice as all that sounds, there is a definite drawback to being a plotter – no spontaneity. The characters usually behave themselves and do what the writer wants. Well, most of the time.

Pantsers are a different story. Seldom aware of where the storyline is really going, these seat-of-their-pants writers get lost in the thrill of adventure as the characters weave their tale. It’s a wild ride that sometime leads to a mess!

Pantsers often spend a lot of time revising, trying to reel in the useless storylines that “magically” appeared throughout the plot.

So is one more likely to lead to publication more than the other? I don’t think so. I think it is important to cultivate both styles.

For plotters, it’s important to let the characters tell the story. Yes, you can have a loose structure – something to guide you through the major plot points of the story. But allowing the characters to tell the story will ensure authenticity.

For pantsers, I think the discipline of structure – of knowing the major aspects of the story – will help when writer’s block hits. It’ll also help reduce the number of revisions and the crazy plot tangents that happen.

Bottom line, a balanced approach can be the most successful way to craft a great story – one that leads to an agent and a book deal.

In my opinion, that is.

What are your thoughts? And tell, you really wish I shared the swag instead, didn’t you???

Oh well – I have to wait, and so do you!  Mwahahahahaha.

13 thoughts on “Pantsers and Plotters – Finding a Middle Ground

  1. I’m a pantser, which leads to a lot of re-writing, but also a lot of fun! On the rare occasion that I have an outline of what I want to happen my characters just laugh in my face and do what they want, or shut up completely and refuse to co-operate with my silly plans. I’ve learned that they know the story, I’m here to learn it, and it usually ends up much better when I let them take over.

    During last year’s NaNo I tried to keep the two MCs from kissing (it was based on the Apollo/Daphne myth, so they really shouldn’t have been kissing!) and they stopped telling me the story for two days straight before I relented and let them kiss. As it turns out it worked much better that way and was even closer to the myth in the end!

  2. I’ve tried both approaches and found that pantsing it works best for me. Too much plotting left me feeling as though I’d already written the story. Trouble with pantsing though, sometimes I head up dead ends and find that there’s nothing to do but unpick the bits that worked and start again.

  3. I’m a pantser for sure! And oh what a mess I made! I’m rewriting my book because I made so many messes. BUT now I get the whole story structure wayyyy better, so I’m sure that next time, I’ll pick up pants and figure out where I’m going before I drop them.

  4. LOL, I’m lousy with surprises, too! Which is why I’m a plotter.😉

    I pantsed the last 5K words of my WiP, and now I have no idea what to do next! I have some serious brainstorming to do now.

  5. Yup, I’m a pantser–sigh. I”m trying something different this time, no outline per se, but I wanna spend some time with the characters before I start writing the plot. We’ll see how that goes.😉

  6. Oh, I want to see what swag you got!!
    😀

    But I’ll add to the other discussion. I’m a pantser that plots a little bit. I usually go into the writing with an idea of where I’m going and a bunch of notes, but aside from a couple of major plot points, I usually don’t know how the story will ultimately unfold. I like the adventure of it, the sense of discovery.

  7. Of COURSE I wish you’d shared the swag. What, do you think I’m NUTS? Um, NO. Swag all the way, baby.

    And yep, after telling you yesterday I didn’t think there was any such thing as balance, I DO think I like a balance between pantsing and plotting.

    I like to pants it right out of the starting gate. But then about half way, I like to take a break (it’s usually where there’s a natural writer’s block moment) and THEN outline. Then I continue to write. And then I use my outline during revisions. Seems to work!

  8. I’m kinda both. When I get an idea that gets me totally excited, I know where it’s going, how it will end and I try to write out as much inbetween detail as I can. Then I free write to get to know the MC and then I go for it. If the ending is murky, then I don’t usually finish the story. But if I know the end before I start, I always get there.

  9. Sure do. Share some swag!!

    Um, yeah, you just officially categorized me as a pantser. But that’s okay. I do agree that I need to find a balance, though. I do write up a skeletal outline, but anything more in-depth, hinders me. I find myself wanting to adhere to the outline and not let the writing happen naturally.

  10. I may be the only person who gets writer’s block while plotting. I am too attached to outlines, I get anxious over making the perfect outline. Then I get bored and switch to pantsing. I’m a mess🙂

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