Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Specter of Plotting

I have a confession to make: I actually plotted out my current WIP before I wrote it.

The ghastly shame of it all.

Unfortunately for a dedicated pantser like me, there was no way around it. The story takes place over a year and I needed to keep track of seasons, dates and days of the week. Plus, since there are breaks in the continuity of days and even weeks, I had to make sure everything would happen at the right time. It wouldn’t make sense for a character to get sick one day and then still be lingering at death’s door a month later. And seeing as it’s one of my books, you know someone is going to get sick at some point.

Good thing there’s still a lot of pantsing to be done in the book. I’ve already thought up several things to add to it and with my timeline, I can figure out exactly where to stick it in.

Plotting and pantsing aren’t like the Crips and the Bloods. There’s no blood feud and you can switch from one to the other whenever you want. So if I have any writing advice to share with you it would be “Go with what works, for you and for the story.”

Which are you, a plotter or a pantser? Or do you eschew labels and just write how you want?


  1. Oh, I love this subject. And I love the parallel between plotting and pantsing and the Crips and Bloods. Awesome! Wish I'd have come up with that. haha

    Well, my first book I pantsed all the way. My WIP I plotted, but it turned out that I pantsed it a bit. I don't think that as much plotting as a writer can do, you'll still pants it along the way.

    I like plotting but still allow myself the creative license to pants it here and there. From now on though, I plan to plot out at least the chapters to give me direction. If I sway a bit from the outline then that's AOK. Maybe that's the direction the story HAS to go.

  2. I plot out things. It's the only way I can complete a project. Otherwise I get lost.

  3. I'm so a plotter. For my current project, I sat down and wrote what has to happen in each and every chapter.

    But, I still find elements that come from nowhere and have to be added. And I'm okay with that.

    For an earlier project, I actually printed out a calendar and used it to keep track of things (like moon phases--hey, it was relevant!). It so helps to have a timeline of sorts.

  4. I've been known to plot as well, despite being a pantser at heart. It did make things more efficient, but it also made me bored!

  5. I'm a plotter, though along the way I'll find things that come to me at the spur of the moment and add them in.


Please validate me.