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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Pantster or Plotter?

There's that white page. What am I going to write on it? The blinking cursor waits and time moves on. I close my eyes and start typing. I can see my hero and my heroine--shipwrecked...on an island with a white sandy beach...

This is going to be fun!

That white page can be daunting, but authors are brave souls. However, they use different methods to get their books written. Some are methodical. They are the plotters. Then there are those who just sit down and write. Those are the pantsters, so called because they wing it--flying by the seat of their pants, or in their case, writing by the seat of their pants.

There are some writers who employ both methods.

Much has been written on this topic and you can find plenty of other blogs covering this subject just by typing pantster vs. plotter into Google.

As for myself, I have used outlines for several of my books, but I have often wandered away from my original plans. I have written some books completely by the seat of my pants--winging it through the manuscript. When I use that method, I have a lot more fun but I tend to go off on tangents. That results in more editing when all is said and done.

Nevertheless, I always have the story in my mind even if I do not have a detailed outline. I know the main characters, the main conflict, and the setting. It is quite an adventure to set sail without a script.

A brief survey of my Twitter friends indicates the pantster method is alive and well.

MiaMarlowe Mia_Marlowe @penelopemarzec Definitely a pantster. Once I figure out who my characters are and what they want, keeping them from getting it is my plot.

suzanne lazear suzannelazear @penelopemarzec I'm actually a puzzler with pantster tendancies.

Lisa Kessler LdyDisney @penelopemarzec Pantster! :)

Marci Baun freyasbower @penelopemarzec pantster all the way. (g)

Some of my Facebook friends chimed in, too.

Nancy Sue Petersen Brandt I'm a pantster trying to reform!

Catherine Guerrero I'm a pantser and proud of it. Got my rough draft for a new novel started that way back during NaNoWriMo.

I believe using the pantster method is rather like recording a dream while being awake. To do it, I must turn off my internal editor. Then I just let it rip.

Are you a pantster or a plotter or a little of both?


BrennaLyons said...

LOL! Pantser, all the way. Not only do I not plot and plan (save writing down a world reference books, as the characters give it to me), I don't know where the book is coming from, where it's going, or how it will end. Unless I've already written the end...or think I have. I don't write linear. I just follow the characters into their scenes and it eventually all comes together into a whole.


Betty Gordon said...

I am a pantster. I have outlined in the past and find it distracting. Of course, I keep a steno pad handy with character descriptions. We don't want brown eyes showing up blue by the end!!

Zequeatta Jaques said...

A little of both. But I am mostly a pantser. I usually have the high points of my book outlined in my head, but I don't have a clue how my characters are going to get there. That's the fun of writing!


Hi, I'm definitely a pantser. I tried to write my current WIP off of an outline and oh, wow, what a disaster! I'm plodding through it and determined to get to the end, but then I'm going to have to go back and do so much editing and rewriting! Never again, at least for me!

Penelope Marzec said...

Brenna: Makes sense to me! After all, the characters are the most important part of the book.

Betty: I, too, have a list of the characters and their hair color, eye color, etc. It sure helps.

Zequeatta: I agree with you. The fun is in the discovery.

Jennifer: You've got to use what works for you. If an outline doesn't work then you don't need it. :^)

Lita Harris said...

I am a panster who is trying to convert---it's not working but my new bare storyboard is ready when I am.

ebookauthor said...

I have one foot solidly in each camp. I usually write the last scene of the book first, then plot to figure out how the loving couple got there. It gets confusing. Like Brenna, I follow my characters lots of places.

Jenn Nixon said...

Total pantser! Can't write any other way. Maybe one day!

Penelope Marzec said...

Lita: Hope you get some words down on the storyboard today!