Plotter or Pantser

The epic battle of writers. Planning it out, or going with the direction of the wind, on a whim.

Some believe that plotting everything out first- characters, settings, conflict, climax and ending- destroys true creativity. That it limits where the characters wants to go. Some say ‘pantsing’ it can lead you too astray from where you began. Example: Story starts out a horror/suspense with a dog, ends up a comedic romance with a pet monkey.

I’ve always been a planner. Not just in writing- school speeches, work presentations, and my first 3 manuscripts were completely outlined  before I started writing. I needed the road map to keep me on track. My safety net.

Just this last month, I did something I’ve never done. Sat down and wrote what came to my brain. No plotting, no character sketching. I ‘pantsed’ four chapters without stopping.

And I freakin’ loved it!

Scared a bit too, thinking the writing would be horrible, the pages full of back story and wandering motivations (and some of it was). But it was damn fun!

And I ended those four chapters with the same characters I started with. No road map and I’m still cruising along the highway with the convertible top down. Wind in my hair. No ponytail.

Not sure how far I’ll go before I give in to my plotter-side and at least put together character sheets. But it’s felt good to go with the flow of my creative side.

Who’da thought it?

Are you a plotter or pantser?

Have you ever tried both?

Consider this peer pressure…

6 responses to “Plotter or Pantser

  1. I’m a plotter too … but I always start out with the story as a pantser. It usually comes out of a free write then I back away and the story begins to grow and morph and grow second heads and another set of arms. Then I plot it out 🙂

    I totally agree with you though. Free writing is so much fun and can take you in really inspiring directions.

  2. I’m both a pantser and a plotter, sort of like Jennifer above. I always start with an idea that I just write out, then go back and try to lay out a plot before I get too lost.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and also for a good post!

  3. Pingback: “Throw out the visual garbage. It’s stinking up your manuscript!” | J. Keller Ford (The Dreamweaver's Cottage)

  4. I’m pantster through and through, but I think in the back of my head I know the destination, just not the exact route I’ll take. But, I had to sit down and plot PF to fix it’s mess, so there is value with that. I think each story may be a little different – some need the guidance of plotting and others want to run free.

  5. Pingback: The Best Laid Plans of a Writer « Fantasy In Motion

  6. Pingback: Confessions of a Recovering Pantser « Brainstorms & Bylines

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