Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pros and Cons - Pantser vs Plotter

Are you a pantser or a plotter? Or a plantster - a little of both?

Here are my definitions...

Plotter - have a terrific story idea, plan, outline, know the basic plot, character backstories, conflict, theme, arcs, etc. Then start writing.
Pantser - have a terrific story idea and/or an awesome character and start writing.

from INSIDE OUT, YouTube clip
Pros & Cons...

Purpose. Your characters need to have goals (Plotter), but how they reach or don't reach them is up to you (Pantser).
Flexibility. Having a plan and making an outline is a great way to know the big plot points of your story (Plotter). Unfortunately, your characters may lead you off your path in a new direction. This isn't a bad thing! Don't resist, go with them and see where it leads (Pantser).
Spontaneity. You want to keep your readers guessing to keep them turning pages (Pantser), just make sure surprises make sense in the story (Plotter).
Continuity. When you start writing a new story, it's a fantastic feeling. Like a child chasing a butterfly--Ooo pretty! (Pantser) But when the butterfly leads you into a dark forest and disappears, you are stuck and lost! If you have a path to follow, you can find your way through the rough parts and make it to the end. (Plotter)

That's why I'm a Plantster - have a plan and a rough outline to know where the story is going, then start writing

I like having a plan, then once I start writing, I take breaks for research, naming people and places, and making notes to keep everything straight. My characters always lead the way through the story, I just nudge them in the right, general direction, so it's just as fun for me to write it and discover it as it is for my readers!

And a special side note, MJ Fifield also talked of Pantsing and Plotting this month!

No matter which way you write it, keep at it!

I love writing!

And someone else who loves writing, is my SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK:



The brilliant Chrys Fey is full of #SPARKS! She found sparks to inspire her and now shares sparks to inspire others. I know she's a big spark of inspiration for me!

Sparks of 
Inspiration -- Motivation -- Advice
Creativity -- Positivity -- Wisdom
Encouragement -- Empowerment -- Insight
and MAGIC

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer's Support Group, running their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Special Note: Her mother is one of her biggest inspirational sparks with published books of her own!

Living in Florida, Chrys is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four cats and three nephews, both keep her entertained with their antics.

You can find her all over...
 Blog Website Facebook /  Twitter @ChrysFey


How about you--Plotter? Pantser? or Some of both? And go visit Chrys for a Spark!

12 comments:

Heather R. Holden said...

Great breakdown of plotting and pantsing! I'm most definitely a plotter--because I do webcomics, I'd be too afraid of writing myself into a corner, otherwise. It also helps me make sure I include the proper foreshadowing, heh. Am always in awe of pantsers, though--have read so many amazing stories from authors who write that way!

And that's fascinating how you're a plantser, Tara--the best of both worlds!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm definitely a plotter. I have to know the exact path before I begin. The little detours along the way never go far and just enhance the story.
Chrys does a great job with our book club!

Sarah Foster said...

I'm definitely a pantser but I'm trying to outline the end of my book right now. It's torture! I don't think I'm very good at outlining. But I want to make sure I get it right this time so I don't have to completely rewrite it again.

The Silver Fox said...

I like the designation of "plantster". That's me! But truth be told, I'm much closer to a pantser than a plotter. I've never written an outline in my life. I don't always know where I'm going, and I've had well-fleshed-out characters seemingly write themselves into my stories.

Christine Rains said...

A plantster is a very good thing to. I always have a general idea of where the story must go and the end, but I just let my characters take me there their own way. :) Yay for Chrys!

Loni Townsend said...

I think I'm like you. I'll have a general plan about a series of events, but man am I prone toward letting the story go wherever once I start writing. And then I have to step back, try to figure out the plan from where I took it, and then start again, or maybe just throw out 20K I'd just written. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I usually outline although I've been winging it a bit with the shorter stories I've been working on recently.

Thank you for highlighting Chrys. She's a darn good editor.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm a fellow planster. I start with an outline of the basic story, but the subplots and scenes are subject to veer in different directions.

Chrys Fey said...

Hi Tara! Thank you for spotlighting me. That was a pleasant surprise. It made me day after a few headaches.

I mostly plot, but lately I have been combining both methods. I find I like doing both. :)

Unknown said...

I'm a mix of both. I like to start with general chapter-by-chapter notes (a few lines each) or a working table of contents, but I always organically diverge and discover new characters and storylines.

Patricia Lynne said...

I'm a panster. The most planning I'll do is muse on a story when I'm away from the computer or write notes for the next scene so I don't forget when I stop for the day.

M.J. Fifield said...

I like the 'planster' idea. I'm certainly doing that with my current project. I like to have more of a plan in place, but the story doesn't always (translation: nearly never) actually follows it. Still, I try. :)

Chrys is a source of inspiration for me, too. She's amazing!

BTW...Thanks for the shout-out!