Are you a Plotter or Pantser? Tell us your Writing Approach!

It's another YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday!





This Week's Topic:
Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Do you like to make a detailed plan before you start a project? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go along?

A great question! When I was younger, I never used to plan out my stories or use an outline. I was totally a pantser. Now, though,  I've found an outline really has helped me get through the story to where it is now--four chapters away from a complete first draft of my debut novel.  My approach has been really flexible. The ideas jotted down in my outline can change or evolve, and sometimes as I write, the story veers off where it initially was intended to go. New characters emerged that I hadn't planned for. Some discoveries and revelations happened earlier than I'd planned (note to self--when writing ahead because an idea for a future scene inspires you, the situation as it is when you write it initially may not end up being exactly the same by the time you write up to that scene).

So, you could say I'm both a plotter and a pantser.  I think it does help to be able to plot and brainstorm, using a flexible outline. It's a great way to start off a new project, and it can help to do additional work when you reach a place where you're stuck. Or when you're just not quite sure what really needs to happen in a chapter. It's helped me get going again by providing a guide and direction.

What's your Writing approach? Are you a plotter or a pantser?  If you write a blog post about it, leave a link here so we can all check out everyone's responses!

Comments

  1. I'm a pantser. I think I feel a bit let down when I write an outline and don't follow it through.

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  2. I'm a pantser, though I need a first and last scene plus a handful of middle scenes to get going. I've started outlining after the first draft, which I find immensely helpful.

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  3. A little of both (does that make me a writing divergent?), but I tend to feel that plotting is more efficient in the end. Alas, it can also squash some of my style, so pantsing is good for me (and my characters) also.

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  4. I am a little of both, but mostly a pantser. I have a very, very loose idea of where things are going when I sit down to write, but I just let things go as they will, making sure I have my roadmap in mind.

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  5. I think that's the key to the outline---that it stay flexible. Otherwise I think it feels to binding and I just give up! The thrill that comes with pantsing is hard to let go of :)

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  6. I'm a little of both too. My first three projects were fairly easy to crank out - without detailed outlining. My new one needs me to rein it in - it's a wild beast and needs outlining.

    AND I love when new characters walk into my story!!! That's why I can't be a rigid plotter.

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  7. I think this is a great approach! I am an outliner but can't imagine doing it if the outline never bent at all.

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  8. I also walk the fine line between plotter and panster. Some stories just flow, other's need guidance.

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  9. I used to be a pantser...now I'm a plotter with a pantser twist! Here's the thing. When I wrote my current in the works novel, I totally pantsed it. But it didn't work. The whole second half of the book had no clear direction or motivation and was filled with needless fluff. It has taken me more time to edit the darn thing to make sense of it than if I'd outlined it in the first place. For my YA fantasy series, a plot is absolutely essential. No pantsing allowed.

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  10. I'm a plotter, but I will change the outline along the way to fit needed changes or bursts of inspiration.

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