Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Confessions of a plantser/pantter

I live somewhere between the realms of pantsers and plotters. For the curious and uninformed, some quick definitions:

  • Pantsers: Writers who draft without planning anything out. Or rather, "by the seats of their pants." Hence the name.
  • Plotters: Writers who meticulously outline their story before drafting. This may involve creating a super intensive story bible.

As you can see, pantsers and plotters make up two ends of the writing spectrum, so it's easy to see how one might fall in the middle. However, most writers seem to identify with one over the other. And for a long time, I thought I was a plotter.

See, I love making outlines and hoarding information about my stories. It pleases my neurotic side to make timelines and such. You guys should see my research folder in Scrivener . . . it's insane.

However, I'm not very good about creating an outline with much depth. My plot points are just that. Points. Meager, pitiful points. Sure, they make an arc, but there's absolutely NO substance. Also, I have yet to outline an ending. Ever.

And this is where my pantsing side comes in. Oh, my characters need to get from A to B? Well, hmm. Not sure how that's going to happen. And they need to start hating each other by C because the first character needs to betray the second one? Yeah. Don't know about that either. And the ending? Oh, well, "dramatic climax" doesn't help at all, so I'll just completely pants the last 17,000 words.

It's a bit ridiculous. How did I ever call myself a plotter when I spend most of my drafting time trying to figure out how to make the pieces of my outline fit together? Yet, I can't call myself a panster either, because I always know where the story is headed.

So, does think make me a planster? A pantter? Eugh. Maybe I should just go wallow in the corner.

However, before that, I'm curious where you guys fall on the scale. Pantser, plotter, or somewhere in between? Tell me in the comments!