Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Problem with Plotting

Well, my problem anyway. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s really about?

I take it from your silence that you’re agreeing with me.

I actually plotted out my last book before I wrote it because I had to get the chronology straight. I don’t know if it helped me write faster or better—in fact, I still ended up switching around big chunks of it, even more than my previous effort which I totally pantsed. The point is, it was useful in some ways but didn’t change a whole lot about my writing habits and style. I still hit some writer’s block, I still skipped around to different scenes, it still took me until the end of the book to figure out what it was really about. A useful tool, yeah, but I’m still not someone who’s going to obsessively detail the background of every character to make sure it fits with the story’s theme as a whole. Or whatever it is you plotters do. I’m honestly not all that sure.

However, I have another story in mind (which if my editing continues to creep along like this will not be realized until the distant future) that will require plotting, again because I need to keep the chronology straight. And as I sit down to try and puzzle it out, I am faced with a problem: it’s kind of boring.

I love writing. I love imagining a world and living within it as a bunch of characters. Hell, I even don’t mind editing most of the time, polishing that gem until it shines. But figuring out the nuts and bolts before I get started? Even though it’s quite important to the story?


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying plotting doesn’t have its uses, and that there’s anything wrong with doing extensive plotting before writing draft one. Writing is something each person needs to do in his/her own way, so plotting, fine, pantsing, also fine, chaining a thousand monkeys in your basement to hammer out the next big hit, again, also fine. I just hate when I need to do something I find so boring.

Yes, this entire post was just one big complaint. And you read it. Until the end.


  1. A lot of pantsers view outlining this way, but it's no more or less creative than writing any other way. It's not about what happens next, it's about what happens next that's interesting. Not what's right for the character or the theme or some kind of paint it by numbers formula, but what's entertaining and exciting and unexpected. Whether you work that out in bullet points or one chapter at a time shouldn't make all that much difference, it's more a difference in time management.

  2. I did read it. Until the end.

    And I agree with you. I'm not a plotter. Life would sometimes be easier if I were, but it's just not me. But to each their own, right?

  3. Hey, if writing was easy everyone would be a bestseller right? I personally love plotting, I think it's so much more fun than editing. I feel like I over-edit myself right into a hole every time, but when I'm plotting, everything has its place. Even if it's the wrong place. :-)

  4. I didn't read it until the end; I read it backwards.

    I'm more of a plotter, but it's all done in my head. I really need to know where the story is going before I can start getting there, so I have to know the arc. I suppose I pants the details, though.

  5. A good outline is like a good battle plan. It's great until you make first contact with the enemy.

    I make great outlines. I plot and plot and plot. And then when I start writing, things happen that come out of nowhere. And suddenly I have to adjust the outline.

    Yet, I still consider myself a plotter.

  6. Yes, I read it to the end. :) haha ... because I'm a writer, and I, too, wonder which is better: plotter or panster. I've tried both. Both have merits. I dunno. Maybe I'll try the monkey in the basement thing next. :)

  7. hehe i read it until the end..so this was your plot?

  8. I'm a plotter... though I do improvise within the body of a manuscript when occasion calls for it.


Please validate me.