Plotters vs Pantsters


Before I started writing I’d never heard of plotters and pantsters. Plotters carefully plan out all the key aspects of their novel before they start and then there are the pantsters who as the name implies fly by their seat.

In everyday life I’m a plotter. I make lists, I plan. I strategise. If I don’t have a plan I feel listless and  at sea, so it would make sense that as a writer I’d be a plotter.

And yet oddly at the keyboard I’m a pantster. The ideas don’t start to flow until my fingers are touching the keys and I actually start to write.

And I’ve got to say the everyday me is pretty aghast at this flighty undisciplined approach.

But it does have its advantages – the pantster  can let their imagination  run free and allow the story to go where it will and the characters to drive the action without having to pull back and keep everything in a pre-determined box. The pantster can arrive at a junction in their story and think ‘Hmm you know I’ll just write my way down this side lane here and see what happens…’

I’m not sure if a pantster can turn or if I’d even want to. But when you’re in the middle of a big rewrite of a whole section of a novel because the pantster in you just got carried away on a tidal wave of unbridled imagination it can look pretty tempting!

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