Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Plot or Pants?

It's time for another Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival hosted by the lovely ladies of YA Highway.
This week's question:

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm a plotter for sure.

When I first sat down to write back in NaNo '08, I had a general idea of a story and some characters, but little else. I just opened my Word doc and let the words flow, because that's what writers do, right?

Well, in the end I was left with 54,000 words of the world's longest and most boring conversation. Nothing happened! At all!

Since then I have realized that I need to have a clear outline, otherwise I will be left with a lot of nothing on my hands. Some writers say they just start writing and see where their characters take them. Well, I have realized my characters will just pull up a chair and take a rest for awhile if I don't go in armed with plans for them.

I've outlined and outlined and outlined since then, realizing that while I had characters and a basic story, I have no PLOT. And I can see the fun and spontineity in just opening up a Word doc and letting everything run wild, but I also see the NOT fun in having to go back 100 times and trying to fix the resulting mess. I've learned I can still have fun in the outlining process.

I still don't have my method figured's a total work in progress. But I've found the Snowflake Outline method very helpful, along with the beat sheet from Save the Cat. I'm still figuring this writing thing out, and I think I'll eventually get to a happy medium when I get more confident in my skills. But for now, I'm a plotter all the way.

What's your method? Plot? Or pants?


  1. Pantser mainly, but as I write more I start to outline more too. Maybe that's writerly maturity?

  2. I'm mostly a pantser as well, but I loved checking out the methods you use to keep yourself on track. Very cool.

  3. YEAH! So true! Longest and most boring conversation -- ugh, that was me so often. *cringes* High-five, fellow plotter!

  4. Heh. I can totally see your characters sitting there, chatting aimlessly, while you poke them with pencils and try to get them to do something. Awesome!

    I'm a plotter. :)

  5. I'm a plotter as well. If I don't have some sort of basic structure, I won't be able to write. I'll just procrastinate, haha. Thanks for the links! I'll check them out :)

  6. I LOVE hearing people talk about things they learned from NaNoWriMo. And learning that about your writing style will never NOT be helpful! (My characters can also be quite lazy and verbose. Every round of revisions is a push--coughSHOVEcough--toward SOMETHING happening.)

  7. I think there comes a point, even for us pantsers, where you need to outline. I find scribbling down the scenes is a way for me to keep them. I'm always afraid they'll disappear. Once the scenes stop flowing, I can take a break to plot.

  8. Fellow plotter here, minus my current experiment in pantsing. (That sounds so . . . wrong.) I always read writing advice that characters trump plot, but if I don't outline my characters just sit around. :)

  9. Yay for Save the Cat!!! Saved my current WIP.

    And it is so comforting to know I'm not the only one who writes 50K of stuff going nowhere. Thanks for posting that. :)

  10. We are so in the same boat with our first attempts at novels only mine was 130,000 words and contemporary YA. Yeah...I know. I'm a plotter all the way now, and I enjoy it too. Planning CAN be fun!