Friday, August 6, 2010

Plotting or Pansting?

Any writer will tell you that they're either a plotter or a panster, the latter being fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writing.

The very first story I wrote, I pansted the whole thing, and it was kind of a cute, trite, plot.

The next (DiD), I tried the same. It's now stalled out because I can't figure out where to go with it. Sure, Kari is pretty mouthy and I'm constantly writing bits and pieces on this story, but it's mostly emotion, no forward action.

I tried a combination on the next one. Did up a brief outline, loosely followed it and wrote. I got about 75% of the way through it before I figured out I wasn't very good at paranormal stuff, so I tried the combination again on the next one.

Didn't work.

Of course, one must always factor in the frustration that comes during any story-writing. Apparently a common occurance, I ended up bored of the story and hating it.

So, I went back to pansting for Touch. hmm.. that may be why I'm floundering about with it so badly.. LOL

This time, with Forgiveness, I'm plotting, outlining, plotting, and doing more outlining.

I've heard, from both faction of writers, how much each method kinda sucks.

Pansters complain that plotting takes the soul out of the story. Creates boredom because the excitement of discovering where the characters are going and who they're going to be is gone. It was all spent on the outline, rather than in the writing.

Plotters tell me that pansting makes for a chaotic storyline, that stuff is thrown in here and there willy-nilly and that the flow doesn't feel right. A lot of pansters find themselves written into corners with no way out (see DiD) or with plot-holes that a Mack truck could drive through.

In either case, I think it's the ability and responsibility of the writer to add the essence of excitement or patch up those plot holes in edits.

What do you think?

In the meantime, for me, plotting seems to be going well, this time at least! Only time will tell, I guess!


  1. I've done both. For my NaNoWriMo '08 novel (which is *still* incomplete), I spent two weeks before Nov 1st plotting and outlining. I had an outline for the first half of the month; the rest I flew by the seat of my pants. I made it over the 50K, though, but I haven't really picked it up since. I guess I got burned out.

    For my second WIP I completely pants'ed it. 60K in and I'm still going.

    My novella I finished in a week in a half. No plotting, but I had it pretty much detailed in my head.

    I don't know what's wrong with me.

  2. have i mentioned how happy i am that you're back at it? :D

    as for your detailing everything in your head, i think that's my problem with pansting. i can't remember stuff. i think of something, and it's SO WONDERFUL! and then 15 minutes later (yes, that quickly, sadly) it's gone and usually i never recover it.

    i have to write everything down as it comes to mind of it, which really sucks when i get a brilliant idea in the shower.

    maybe my brain is telling me i should always be a plotter..?

  3. The shower and driving is where I get a lot of my ideas; it's where I brainstorm. That might be why I can easily remember some of the stuff (it's only in writing though, other shit I forget, lol), because I don't have a paper and pen handy. Can't do it while driving; it'll wreck. Can't write on wet paper, lol.

    And I'm glad I'm back, too! ;)

  4. So, my boss slash friend suggested dry-erase markers in the shower... i can just write stuff down on my tub-surround. he's brilliant, i tell you. BRILLIANT!

  5. LOL! OMG, that is brillant. Definitely do that. I wish I could. Knowing me, I'd forget to erase and the next bathroom user will find odd words written all over the place, lol. That would be embarrassing.