Are You a Pantser or a Plotter?

Do you just start writing and see where the story takes you or do you prefer to outline it chapter by chapter first?

Stephen King is a famous pantser. J.K. Rowling is a plotter, she mapped out all her books before she started writing.

When I first started writing, I researched all the outlining methods, thinking it was the best way to begin. I used the snowflake method and outlined my story from start to finish and failed miserably several times before I realized that outlining wasn’t for me.

So I decided to stop planning and just start writing with a few basic ideas and I haven’t looked back since.

That doesn’t mean I don’t plan AT ALL. I still do some planning, but it’s very limited.

There are pros and cons to both methods and you may be a little of both or lean towards one or the other.

 

Plotter

Pros:

-You will be able to finish your books faster. This is important, especially in this day and age with the rise of eBooks and the generation of short attention spans. Being able to write books at a steady pace is pretty important.

-You know where your story is going. (I hope.) This is important because you won’t be writing a hundred pages and realize you need to go in a different direction.

Cons:

-You may end up with more cliches. Your first idea isn’t going to be your best idea and unless you’re a very flexible plotter, your story might become too cliched.

-It can be stifling. Creativity is not a neat process, it’s horribly messy and all over the place. Having a neat, streamlined process might limit your creativity.

 

Pantser

Pros:

-You will discover your story organically. Not outlining will allow you to dig deeper into your story, find the twists and turns. It’s almost like playing a choose your own adventure game… but it’s all in your head.

-More originality. Like I said, creativity is messy. Letting the story take the reins means you will come up with newer, more original ideas.

Cons

-Your story may be going nowhere. Not plotting out a story runs the risk of not knowing where your story is going. This means you’ll spend a lot of time writing and rewriting again and again.

-It slows you down. I’m not gonna lie, not plotting out a story takes MUCH longer to finish. You’ll make mistakes, write a hundred pages and realize you took the wrong turn fifty pages ago. It’s very frustrating.

 

Whatever works.

In the end, only you can decide what works best for you. Try both ways and see which one works.

Remember, there’s no one way to write a book.