In blogs and on critique sites, there can be a lively exchange between fiction writers about the merits of being a “Plotter” or a “Pantser.”
The Plotter camp favors outlining and structuring your novel, the most extreme plotters subscribe to developing all the elements of your story, asking in depth questions about plot, characters, pacing, pinch points, before beginning to write. Some write out long narrative style outlines, others more truncated versions.
On the other side of the discussion, the Pantser’s , as the name implies, write by the seat of the pants with very little more than a general idea in mind. Just write it. Often cited are feelings that extensive outlining would rob the story of any spontaneity or creative spark.
While I lean towards being a plotter, eventually I’ve employed a “bit of both.” I’ve found great value in outlining my story, but then I hit a point where I just started writing, adjusting the outline to fit where I have wandered. Returning to the outline gives me a quick look at possible plot holes, further character development needed, and a chance to restructure as needed. It’s turning out to be a very useful tool.
And here’s my revelation:
# 14 I suspect plotters spend more time on the front end, and probably less in re-writes and revisions. And pantsers do more editing and rewriting at the end. But whichever way a story is approached – plotter, pantser, or a bit of both, you still wind up needing to attend to all the elements of a good novel.
To see the lessons I’ve learned while writing my first novel, click here: Lessons I’m learning while writing…