Monday, March 26, 2012

Lessons Learned, Part 2: The Plotter, the Pantser and the In-Betweener

I’ve seen a recent discussion about those writing the animals, the Plotter and the Pantser. You know the Plotter, the one who keeps meticulous notes; they have a notebook full of outlines, plot twists but perhaps no actual story. They leave no stone unturned in their planning for the story and won’t jump in with both feet until they’re satisfied everything is covered. I used to be a Plotter. I was so consumed with mapping out every detail about my novel, I rarely got around to writing the story. Some of this can be attributed to my lack of maturity as a writer.

Up next we have the Pantser who has no need for any type of plot. These writers simply need a skeleton outline, if any, or just the kernel of an idea. They sit down and begin writing and let their characters take the story where they may, uncovering plot twists and surprised as they go. It’s interesting that in recent years since I took up serious writing that I’ve found myself, more than once, swinging to this side of the pendulum. You have to know me to understand how strange that seems.

There’s a third writing animal I will call the In-Betweener. This writer samples between the best of both worlds, culling what works best for them from a plotting perspective and from the Pantser view of the world. No two In-Betweeners are the same. This is where I currently live. I use some skeletal plotting and character outlines, then dive right into the story. I’ve seen a novel morph right in front of my eyes, and I think for the better.  I’ll get back to you if it results in traditional publication in the end.

There’s no bad way to write. There is just bad writing. If you are a Plotter, a Pantser or the In-Betweener, the important thing is that is the method that works for you. Dabble a little in each of them and see which works for you. If you’ve already determined you’re a Plotter, then hit it with gusto. Don’t let anyone dissuade you or tell you their way is the ONLY way to write.

So, which kind of writer are you?

1 comment:

  1. 'Tis true. The more you force yourself into an unnatural method, the more likely it is the story will sound forced too.