Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pantser or Planner?

I've heard lots of people discuss how they write their novels. Some are "fly by the seat of their pants"ers, and some are meticulous planners, even to the point of doing 20+ pages outlines, complete with encyclopedia of world-building and character sketches.

For my first novel, I scribbled many pages of ideas, let them congeal into a single unified world, wrote a page and a half of chapter sypnopses, and opened up the laptop.

It was interesting to see my characters (or me? still not sure) move the plot around. They sure did a lot of boring stuff I had to cut out.

For my second novel, I did months of research because it was an historical novel, and this time the outline was two pages. Needless to say, the characters changed, the plot changed, and I interwove subplots and twists after the first draft.

For number three, I'm planning my pantsers off. Thick outlines, characters sketches, and weird bubble plans for plot and subplot twists. I'm tired just thinking about it.

So...who's a pantser, and who's a planner?


Deb Salisbury said...

I'm a planner. I LOVE to world-build. I tend to do short character sketches, but looooong outlines.

Karennina said...

I'm totally a planner. I started my WIP with an outline and a goal. Then I wrote chapter summaries, which I used to flesh out the story. 35K words later, much of the story has changed. Even my MC has changed. But planning helped me see where the story was going and whether it was working or not. I don't think I can ever be a pantser. I even plan how I'll do my revisions. LOL

ralfast said...

I'm pantser by custom, although I do a fair bit of note taking as I write.

DaniSue said...

I am so a pantser. I wish I was a planner though. I try to plan, but I get bored and usually am too excited about a new story so I just jump in. I have a separate document that I make notes in as I come up with new ideas, but that's about it.

Kirk said...

I'll go 50/50. My story kinda of develops as I do each revision.

lbdiamond said...

I'm soooo a panster! LOL! Though I must say, I spend a great deal of time revising after I hastily get all the story out in rough draft form! :)

Anonymous said...

Lyd! Finally did a more comprehensive review of your newborn blog. I love it! Unfortunately you won't fine me writing in so much as I am a terrible writer and highly intimidated by the notion that writers will be reading my posts. Stick to the writing and when the time comes I'll be your Chip Kidd. Love ya. -Al

Sandy Shin said...

I'm a bit of both. Before writing, I have a rough outline of the plot, and fill in the spaces as I go along. :)

Suzette Saxton said...

Pantser at heart, planner by imposition. :) I want to be sure all the bases are covered! (But my characters still surprise me...)

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I make it up totally as I go. No question. This means I have to rewrite heavily and sometimes that makes me want to rip my hair out. But it's my process. I try to embrace it.

WritingNut said...

Definitely a bit of both. I love to plan, but I always end up straying from the outline--especially when my characters end up monopolizing my storyline!

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