Plotters and Pantsers

We are almost half way through November, which means those of us doing NaNoWriMo this year should be nearing their half way mark.crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76

First confession. I’m not quite there yet, but with a little planning I hope to be within the next few days. This leads me onto the title of this post. Plotter verses pantser.

Second confession. I used to be a pantser. When I began writing, I simply had an idea and went for it. I’m not saying it’s wrong to have done that, but now I plot out the main points of my story before I start writing chapter one and this is what works for me. I don’t outline every single event in the book, just a few basic points along the way to my characters’ happy ever after. To do that I love post-it notes and coloured highlighters!IMG_0053

Like everything, there are pros and cons to being either a panster or a plotter. Plotters have control over the events in their novel but pansters may say that spoils their creativity. Pantsers never know what’s going to happen next – or even when. That’s something which doesn’t sit comfortably with plotters.

I don’t have rigid control over my characters and if they suddenly surprise me and do or say something as I write, I go with it, but I do like to see the skeleton of my story scribbled out on post-it notes. I’m open to change so maybe there is still a panster inside me.

Girl sitting on fence illustration

So, as I sit on the fence and debate which exactly I am – and try and keep up with my NaNoWriMo word count, I’d love to know which way suits you best. Are you a plotter or pantser and what’s the best bit about it for you?

Happy Writing!



15 thoughts on “Plotters and Pantsers

  1. I’m definitely a plotter too but I think you’re right, we have to be lenient as we write and our characters and stories take shape in ways we didn’t quite expect!
    Good luck with Nano & to all those other brave writers out there taking part.
    Helen J Rolfe.

  2. I’ma bit of both. I really want to wing it, and I can at the start, then I start to panic when I don’t know where the story’s going, and wish I’d written a proper plan. Good luck with NaNo!

  3. I’m a pantser, but suspect that causes me more issues when I edit – which BTW I hate with a passion. I’m a pantser in life generally, though, so don’t suppose it will change. I do have, and use far more frequently now, a writing notebook, where I record ideas about where the plot will go and things I know I need to include by the end. So maybe I’m a retrospective planner… Hmmm, think I’ll join you on the fence. Great post! x

  4. I like to have a plan! I make a list of key scenes so I know where I’m going. Having said that, my characters never fail to surprise me, and as I’m writing things will occur to me that lead me in a different direction. I then have to change my plans, but I still have one. I tried just winging it once and it was a disaster. Good luck finishing NaNo, Rachael!

  5. I’ve always been a panster and have to constantly rewrite my plot, I’m so laid back I give my characters problems then solve them quickly, thats what I like to do in real life. So when I read back I remember each of the stages in solving the problem and write that. But if I plotted I’d probably save time and go and buy myself a lovely set of new post-it notes and notepads to jot it all down on. Now that idea really appeals Thanks for a fab post!! 🙂

  6. I tend to ride the middle. Plotted hardcore one year and finished everything on my outline is 20,000 words only lol. I usually have a basic plan to move forward, but this year I’m 100% pantsing and I love it!

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