This seems to be a subject that I keep coming across at the moment. People have asked me if I am a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’. What does this mean? The question is really, “Do you plot out your novels before you start writing? Or do you write organically?” (Flying by the seat of your pants.)
Technically, I am first a plotter, as I like to kind of know what pathway my writing is walking down. Great at character profiling before I even start writing a novel. But then I find that my characters start taking on a life of their own, and then I become a ‘pantser’.
I think that writing organically can take you places that you never would have plotted before. Once you start researching locations, careers of your characters, and all sorts of other symbology in relation to your work in progress, the story starts to evolve. So, to start me off, I’m definitely a plotter. It’s as if I need some sort of map or some form of direction to get me going.
When I first started writing, I used to plot out every stage. Each chapter had its own plotlines that I had to follow. Each character has their objectives that are carefully laid in order to eventually meet at the height of the book. But I found that having a set plot regime hindered my creativity a lot. I would get to the point where I already knew what was going to happen, and therefore I was no longer writing the piece of work for myself, but I was writing it down, just to get it down. But since I already knew everything in the storyline, it was no longer exciting me, or surprising me.
I can’t do that now. Instinctively, I know that I can have a very loose plot. And in that loose plot, I have to manoeuvre my characters to the peak of the plot. Sometimes I know how this is going to happen… other times I don’t. And this is all part of the fun.
I primarily write for myself. I write myself stories that I love, and I am my own audience. Granted, there are other people out there who read my work as well, but I know that as long as I am happy with the process and the finished product – then that’s the only thing that matters.
So here are two core questions I’m putting out there into the Interweb ether:
- How do you do it? Plotting or Pantsing?
- Who do you write for?
I think that these are questions we all need to eventually have an answer for.