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Reason #523 I Could Never Be a Writer

August 29, 2012

My calendar is like my bible. If it’s not in there, it doesn’t get done.

So that makes me think I’d want to be a plotter. But I hate making outlines. Actually, I hate making plans too. My calendar is mostly appointments and things to remember to do.

So maybe I’d be a pantster? But then it would probably just never get done.

Also, I have a slight tendency to ramble.

Are you a plotter or a pantster? Either way, how on earth do you do it???


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  1. I’ve done both (still do), but I enjoy myself more when I “pants.” It’s the joy of discovery while I write, and if I’m enjoying myself, then the story is usually better, too.

    Either way, I always do GMC’s for each character and keep a short plot synopsis.

  2. I’ve done both. Every time I try to outline, though, it gets tossed in the trash by the third chapter. I do spend a lot of time drawing up each character’s history, descriptions, etc. These days, I know where the story begins, and where it ends – what happens in the middle is up to the characters. I do have to get them back on track occasionally. They can be chatty fellas.

  3. I’ve always been a pantster, but then I’d often write myself into a corner and end up abandoning the project for a few weeks (in some cases, a few years).

    After hearing author, Kimberla Lawson Roby, talk about the benefits of outlining I started to use this method. First I would just outline scenes. Then chapters. Now I generally try to do an ultra brief outline when I start a new project, knowing that the pantster in me (and those mischievous characters) will inevitably take me in another direction.

    Still having a road map to the story helps me get back on track. So no more abandoned projects.

  4. Pantser all the way!

  5. Both. Some books more detailed than others but I at least write short synopses of the major plot points. For a book I just rewrote I did a 2000 word synopsis of the new plot before I started rewrite and then a shorter point by point of scenes I could keep and scenes to add. But all the details and magic come out in the pantsing of writing.

  6. Mary permalink

    I’m definitely a plotter. If I try to start a story without knowing where it’s going, it usually either gets scrapped or has a terrible, implausible ending.

  7. I’m definitly a pantser and the way I do it is by getting caught up in the story. I can’t wait to see what happens next! Just last night I was working on a WIP and the character picked up the phone expecting it to be one of two people. We were both surprised when it turned out to be a third person.

  8. Both. I map out the points I need to hit, then figure it out as I go. Just as another poster mentioned, I tend to develop my characters first, then I have more ideas for scenes. Knowing my characters a head of time helps me keep the story on track.

  9. Aurelia Blue permalink

    My stories come to me in dreams and I put them into words. So, I don’t know which one I am. I will say that sometimes the characters come back the next night and tell me I did it wrong, lol. 😉

  10. Anonymous permalink

    I believe it was “the killers” that sang:
    Are we human, or are we pantsters?
    My sign is vital, my hands are cold
    And I’m on my knees looking for the answer
    Are we human or are we pantsters?

    And then they couldn’t decide either so they all ate delicious scones. I suggest you do the same.

  11. I used to be a pantser but I got detention. Plotting sucks too–if they can prove you plotted, the DA calls it “premeditated” and doubles your sentence.

    Now I just plot to pants because it sounds like “plotz your pants” and that’s hilarious.

    (Seriously, I’ve tried both and pantsing seems to work better. No matter how carefully I plot, there’s always a twist out there waiting to shake things up.)

  12. I prefer to take an outline and pants it out of its skull.

  13. I’m usually some of both. I get an idea and start writing, but after about 30-50 pages, I usually start a separate document where I write down ideas and notes as I go, and it eventually turns into an informal outline. I find it fascinating how different everyone’s process is!

  14. Plotter, plotter, plotter *hugs her index card outlines tightly to her chest*

  15. I write Memoir, but since I moved 50 times in 45 years, I have to make lists (I guess that’s a form of outline) in order to remember it all. Then I pants it for a while, but go back to outlining and index cards (via Scrivener) to be sure I am staying true to my logline (or rewrite the logline) and then I pants it some more. With Memoir, the hard part is knowing what to leave out. I thought finishing a manuscript was challenging until I started the editing process. Now that takes focus. That’s when I use all the structure tools I can find, from synopsis to outlines to index cards to just plain winging it. Writing is a complex process that requires time more than anything–years and years of it. ABC (Apply Butt in Chair) is my daily mantra.

  16. I plot some in my head. But then I just write and let the story come out the way it wants. So pantser it is. Or skirtser. Depends on the day.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Plotter or Pantster? Hint: You Don't Have to Pick Just One. | Mindful Banter

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