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Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Most writers fall in one of these two categories. Some must outline and plan and plot, while others just begin writing and see where it takes them. And they will hardly ever switch and try writing the other way. It would be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole - uncomfortable and awkward.

Some plotter's have every single thing planned out from all the twist and turns of the story, to extensive character development. This can run into several pages before one word of the story is written. Other plotters have a less extensive outline, allowing for possible change of direction.

Most mystery writers are plotters by necessity. Twists, turns, red herrings, and bad guys all need to be ready to go.

To a pantser, an outline seems insane. They can't imagine trying to plan how everything will happen. It takes the excitement of discovery away. Just let the character go wherever they want and let the story follow. Of course, this usually means a very rough first draft which must undergo extensive re-vision. That's not to say the plotter doesn't have to revise, but probably a lot less.

Which kind of writer are you? And would you ever give the other way a try?


Tierney James said...

I'm definitely a plotter. Having said that things always happen I don't expect and I run with that. Some things I planned to happen never do because a character got all crazy on me and started doing their own thing. So I have a little pantser mixed in when I write.

Susan Keene said...

I am a pantser. I like to let my characters develop on their own.

Liz Roberts said...

I am a pantser. I recently bought Scrivener, which seems to be helping me plan and plot while I maintain my pantser habits. Maybe it will make me into a hybrid.

Shirley said...

Pantser. Never know who did it when I start. Fun to unravel the mystery

Janet Kay Gallagher said...

I would like to be a plotter but I'm too unorganized for that.

Linda Maye Adams said...

I'm a pantser, though I don't really like the term. It sounds like something outliners came up with to explain how we write because it doesn't make sense to them. I have no idea how my story will end or even what comes next. I write like I read, discovering as I go along.

Kathy Crouch said...

I'm a in between. I have made notes of what the story would be about researched things and stuff. I figured out I'm a CONCEPT writer. I don't plot I run with an idea (panster) and I can't figure out GMC until after I am into the story. I have to rewrite and revise a lot but I can't find another way that works for me.