Writing: Pantser not Plotter

Writing: Being a Pantser. Not a Plotter

It seems there is this idea Plotting and outlining are in some sense superior to the ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ method. But it isn’t. It is Different but they are both methods that get you to the same place depending on your personality type.

Writing: Being a Pantser. Not a Plotter

Pantser writing

I know my character before I write a word. I know my world. I know my beginning. I know how it will end. I know even some Main incidents. And then I begin to write and go with the flow based on that pre-existing knowledge.

It is fluid and moves and alters and shifts based on how I feel the characters would react to incidents and problems.

I am immersed in the world and my characters mindset. So I know how they will react and what will happen in certain situations I toss their way to complicate things. I add in twists and turns to develop them and the plot as I go. Aiming for my main incidents and my ultimate end goal, my end point.

So I sort of have a vague, fluid, basic outline in my head that alters as I go along but stays within the primary perimeters of ending the way it needs to end.

No, it is not written down or set in stone

When I start a novel I have no notes. I do write them as I go along because sometimes I write series of novels and you need to keep some particulars in mind for the next one. Reference points.

And when a spark of inspiration about a future scene smacks into me I will take note of that so I do not forget it because I am very much a linear writer.

But I do not need an outline. I just go with the vague concept, plot, and character I have in my head and … go! And that begins to feed me to the next point and the next and the next.

When a Pantser Outlines

I can outline. I am capable of it and I have done it before. To me, might as well be brainstorming ideas. I never stick to it. I diverge from it around chapter 3. You see I always know the start of my novel in my head so that is going to be as it is. But then I rarely stick to the outline because once I am immersed in that world and character it Doesn’t Fit anymore.

So my brain is off and running with better ideas and there I go with it. Until the novel resembles Nothing to the outline other than the beginning, 1 or 2 major incidents and the end. Just like if I don’t do an outline. So it is moot to even do one.

I get why people do them

A different personality type wants structure and needing that they lay out their outline before hand. It gives them a clear path where they are going and how to get there.

I have never been that organized. But it isn’t just that because I would stick to the outlines I have tried if it were. I don’t. When I get in the Flow of a novel it doesn’t matter if I had notes… they will be of no use once I am in that groove. Once I am in my character’s head things change.

No one way is better than the other.

It is just how your creativity works. Mine works in the moment. Other people like that brainstorming Before and then organizing it before.

And some people are a wee bit of both. And if I were ever to be tempted to outline it would be middle of the road sort. Some basic outlining. Maybe character profiles. Maybe world-building notes (I usually just have all that in my head). That would be about it.

Either way, do what works for You. And know that no way is better than any other way. It is just the way your brain works.

See more posts

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