Welcome to my new series of writing tips for beginners. Today I´ll share my thoughts on different writing techniques with you guys. I´ll explain the two methods of plotting and pantsing and at the end you can choose, which writing method works better for you.
Plotting vs. Pantsing
What is a Plotter?
A plotter is someone who has a story idea and creates a detailed outline of it before s/he starts writing on the actual manuscript. In this writing technique not only the complete story will be plotted in advance, but plotters also create detailed lists of information about the characters and the setting, write down some notes for scenes and maybe even some important quotes they want to include in their story.
What is a Pantser?
A pantser on the other hand sits down and starts writing when they have an inspiration or a great idea. They don´t plot and follow their ideas in the moment of writing. Often the story of a pantser changes a lot from the first idea to the end result. They follow their intuition and discover their story in the progress of writing. If you use the pantsing method you will have more freedom while writing your story, but when you finished it, you need to edit the whole manuscript to make sure, that there are no plot holes and everything makes sense.
The Pros and Cons of Plotting vs. Pantsing?
There is no writing method that is better than the other one, just go for the technique that fits your writing better. If you are not sure yet, which writing technique fits you better, here are some pros and cons of both creating styles.
Plotting is amazing, because …
- It requires less editing and reduces the chance of plot holes
- It makes the planning of the writing schedule easier
- It gives the writer the opportunity to get to know their story and characters fully before starting to write by creating character sheets and making sure the message you want to tell the readers will be in it
- It gives you a clear writing path without any surprises. You can concentrate more on finding the best-fitting words, instead of worrying about the story development
The downside of plotting
- It´s very time-consuming
- Sticking to a planned story can feel boring and you might miss the creative flow
- If you get an amazing idea while writing and want to change your story, you might feel like it was a waste to spend all the time on the outline planning or you even have to start planning again and again in the progress of writing
Pantsing is amazing, because …
- Writers can enjoy their creative flow fully
- You won´t waste any time and can start writing your story right when the muse kisses you
- Your story might be finished earlier, cause you started writing earlier
- The storyline might be more natural and creative as you come up with the details while writing it
- All your energy can go into the writing progress
The downside of pantsing
- You might question your story idea more often and maybe are more likely to give up on the writing progress
- Missing inspiration can hold you back from continuing writing
- Your story might make the wrong turn and you have to go back and delete parts
- Plot holes happen and you have to edit them afterwards and find a way to change the already written story to make them work out
Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
Now that you know the ups and downs of both writing techniques you might feel more attracted to one method. But not all writers have a preference and most of them, myself included, would describe themselves as Plantsers – the perfect mixture of both. I personally plot around 20 % of my story before I start writing. The more I outline the easier the writing progress is, but I also love it when inspiration hits me and a scene goes completely different than expected and a side character suddenly ends up being one of the main protagonists. I don´t want to be bothered by outlining the character sheets completely, but having a rare idea of where I want to go with my story helps me a lot in increasing my daily word count. Especially for writing challenges like the #NaNoWriMo it´s helpful to plot as much as you can in advance, so you can write the first draft of your story in just 30 days.
How would you describe your own plotting style: Are you a Plotter, a Pantser or even a Plantser?
Have fun plotting your newest story and I see you guys in the next writing post,