Monday 11 July 2022

Plotter or pantser?

Ways of writing 

By Sharon Bryant

How do you approach your writing? Are you a plotter who creates a detailed outline before you begin your novel? You may be a pantser who prefers the more organic approach of not knowing where a story is going when you begin to write it. Perhaps your approach to writing lies somewhere between these two extremes. 
Plotters often consciously utilise the structure of a romance novel when they are in the planning stage. They may make detailed notes re their characters, settings and plot lines. Some will use cards to summarise the key events in each chapter as they plot out the hills and valleys of their stories. Many story problems can be identified in the planning stage using this approach. Plotters may also know their characters well before they start to write. This can result in producing well-rounded characters who the reader can relate to. 
Pantsers may dislike detailed plotting, finding it stifles their creativity. Instead they allow their story to develop organically. If they reach a dead end, they go back, identify the problem and rewrite as needed.

Which approach is the best? 

I don't believe one approach is better than the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages. 
Plotters know their destination. This may make it more likely for beginning writers to finish a novel without getting lost on the way. If you prefer not to write your novel from start to finish, plotting may help you link different scenes together. It may also allow you to avoid extensive rewriting. 

Of course, the plotting approach has disadvantages. You need to put in a lot of work before you begin writing your novel. Plotters may spend so long in the plotting stage, that they find it difficult to begin writing. Some plotters lose confidence and leave a project without starting their actual novel.

Pantsers have the freedom to just begin writing, and take their story wherever they wish. They spend more of their valuable writing time, immersed in the writing process so it may be easier for them to develop their own voice. This immersion may aid the creation of well-developed characters. 

On the other hand, pantsers may write themselves into a corner, and become blocked, uncertain where the story should go next. Some writers find this very frustrating. They may also find it more difficult to write when inspiration doesn't strike.

 How do you approach your writing? 

There is no one correct way to go about writing your novel or short story. Your approach will be as individual as you are. How do you write? Are you a plotter, a pantser or somewhere between? 

I love to love thinking about what I may write. 
I love to laugh with my writing friends. 
I love to learn more about the process of writing.