Writing on Wednesday: Pantser or Plotter

Writing on Wednesday is a weekly meme, created right here at Bookish Ardour and is for everyone to participate in. Every Wednesday I will post a new question for writers to answer on their own blogs or to answer in the comments. You can be aspiring, you can be published, or just write as a hobby.

All you have to do is link back to this post and leave a link to yours in the comments. Simple! Please remember to leave a proper comment on other’s blogs, and not just an I was here one. Thanks!

This Week’s Question: Pantser or Plotter? Which one are you and have
you ever tried the other way?

My answer – If you have no idea what the difference is between pantser and plotter or you have never heard the terms before (I only learnt them last year), let me explain;

Pantser is someone who writes by the seat of their pants, which makes sense, and they don’t plan ahead. They just let their writing take them where it will.

Plotter is something you’ve probably guessed by now, a person who plots or better yet plans out their plot in advance.

I used to always think I was exclusively a pantster because so often I’ve just gotten an idea which led to that unbearable itch to write and write and write! I needed to get the story out before I lost the feeling or worse yet the whole story. I also needed to get as much of the story out on paper before it took me over and I lost the desire to write it.

This is why I always thought I was that type of writer, even before I knew there was a nickname for it. I realised there were different ways of writing and I still do, but I never thought of it as two different types of categories and my writing world was so narrow, I lacked interaction with others, that I didn’t even consider other writing methods; I was too focused on my own. Other writing methods, habits, behaviours, were known of, but on the outer edges to the point where they were fuzzy.

When I came across the terms pantser and plotter, because my brain has a tendency to compartmentalise and organise, I thought that everyone fell into one or the other. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think writers couldn’t switch, I know enough about switching in certain sub-cultures to know that can apply to anything, including writing.

It slowly dawned on me, that when it comes to plotting or pantsing, that I am indeed a switch or better yet a composite of the two. I love to write by the seat of my pants, that’s how I started my latest novel I’m working on, but I also love to plot out every last detail. And I mean every last detail, even down to the character’s wardrobe (I don’t mean character detail or as part of the story here, but in drawing their clothes and I will design the whole lot if I let myself get carried away).

I will draw maps of the country, maps of the surrounding area, maps of their houses, and I will even draw their living areas. I’ll plan out their weapon collections if they have one, their reading list so I know of books that they might mention, their music collection, bloody everything and yet not everything.

I will set down a rough line of journey when it comes to the plot and characters, this includes if I’ll be writing sequels or trilogies, if there will be spin offs, their history incase I want to come back to that, if it’s a new world I’ll even plan the history of that too (and the list goes on), but at the same time there are elements I leave for me to discover.

In one way I am a meticulous planner, but at the same time I’m not meticulous at all. I won’t see all the connections coming, there are days where I will only plan in my head or draw and there are days where I will just write and write and write, but with only the picture in my head and none of that history or back story will matter until it matches in with the tale.

So to answer that question, yes and yes and yes. Now if only I was one of those people who could come up with a cool name or term that is made up of the two… With all of my crazy imagination I’m hopeless at doing that.

Next Week's Question: Writing The People You Know - have you ever
written someone you know as a character or would you, and why?

To submit a question please email bookishardour@gmail.com with
WriWe in the subject title.

2 thoughts on “Writing on Wednesday: Pantser or Plotter

    • My pleasure Geosi. There’s always a first time for learning it. I’m still behind most of the lingo out there in the writing world so I figured someone out there has to not know what Pantser is yet.


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