WTH is a plotter or a panster?
Plotter: Someone who plots a book, using outlines, synopses, or good old-fashioned memory. They know their plot points and how each scene will feed into the next.
Pantster: Someone who flies by the seat of their pants. A general idea begins on screen, but they take their cues from the story and characters. They have no idea what comes next.
Is one better than the other? There are pros and cons for sure.
Plotter pro: You can write a synopsis and contract a book on your idea. If you don’t know what happens in your books, you are stuck waiting until it’s entirely written before you can contract it.
Plotter con: You can get locked inside your concept and get bored. Writing isn’t only about putting words on paper–it’s about letting your imagination run wild. If you only write to the guidelines you’ve concocted, you might get burned out.
Pantster pro: You live in the moment while writing, which can be a hell of a rich experience. Sort of like having sex with a new partner every day of your life. The world unravels at your fingertips.
Pantster con: You can get stuck easily. If you can’t see how all of these plot threads are going to feed into one thick rope of your story, you can feel hopeless and bogged down.
I’m a little of both. I plot the main goal, conflict and motivations. I have a basic idea how my story will end and even can tell you some main plot points along the way. It’s enough to get me contracts. But that doesn’t mean I don’t vary once I’m writing the book. Why? Because what keeps me happy is the pantster stuff. I don’t know WTF my characters might say or even do at times. That’s what keeps me in love with them.
There’s no one “right” way to write a book. Each individual must find a path, and even then, sometimes paths get flooded by new rivers of opportunity.
What are you–plotter or pantster? I’d love to hear from you!