Plotter vs. Pantster

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I wanted to do a writing post and talk about being a plotter vs. a pantster . I've done both. I've outlined entire stories and used to that to create the first draft but I've also just started writing on the fly. I can tell you that outlining is the best method. What I've found is that when I just start a story with no planning, the excitement of a new idea and getting that all on paper wears off. Almost every time I'd only make it to about chapter seven or eight and run out of gas. That's about the time the excitement ended and I started getting into the parts that were not as interesting to write and required more detail. My story would stall for a few days or months or even years because without the excitement I had nothing to motivate me to continue with the story. When this was happening, I did not know why. I could not figure out why I had so many unfinished manuscripts until I read about other authors outlining their books before writing them.

At the time I did not like this method either because I thought the outline had to be followed to the 'T.' I had a lot of learning to do about writing. It has been a lot of trial and error along with schooling and reading writing books. Once I figured out that the outline was just as flexible as the story itself, I tried outlining one of my books. I plotted every chapter and kept pushing through even when I got to the parts that were not as easy to come up with scenes for. But there is more that goes into planning a novel then just creating an outline. I also create character sketches which help me get to know my characters better and is something I can refer back to when I need to. Incorporating planning into my writing process has helped me finish more drafts than I did when I was just a pantster. I am advocate for planning over writing on the fly because an outline helps you keep going when you are not sure where to go next.

So, for me at least, the debate between plotter vs. pantster is not debate at all. You have to put add pre-writing to your writing process if you want to finish stories and not end up with a lot of unfinished manuscripts on your hard drive and/or notebooks. It can be tedious but you'll be happy you did it in the long run.

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