Generally speaking there are two types of writers when it comes to fiction, a plotter and a panster. As most of you already know, when it comes to fiction you have to build everything from the ground up. The environment, the characters, their personalities, even mannerisms, every detail matters and every detail should move the story forward. It’s not an easy task.
Here are the two category types that most writers fall into (although I fall somewhere in between):
A plotter is someone who meticulously plans and outlines their story before they begin writing. If you're a painstaking outliner who spends a large amount of time in the prewriting stage charting out plotlines, devising characters, and worldbuilding, you fall into the plotter category. (Masterclass.com)
This takes a ton of time and can test the patience of most writers. However, it pays big dividends when the writing begins because the pathway is clear. When it comes to my process, I can’t wait to enter the world I already have thought out in my head, which leads me to the Panster.
If you’re the type of writer who likes to fly by the seat of your pants and write without a roadmap, chances are you would identify as a “pantser.” A pantser doesn’t spend a lot of time evaluating writing methods or planning out story structure, nor do they follow a paint-by-numbers approach to novel writing. Pantsing is the preferred method for Stephen King and many other successful writers. Pantsing can be a great way to quickly get into the writing process and beat writer’s block. Whether you are working on your first novel or a followup to your most recent bestseller pantsing can be a great method for jumpstarting your process and getting your creative juices flowing. (Masterclass.com)
There is no doubt about it, being a panster can be pretty fun but the headaches it can cause down the line can be pretty frustrating. The frustration often manifest in the form of major plot holes, inconsistent characters, and tone fluctuation.
There is no right or wrong way to do it. The best way is the way that works best for you. I consider myself a panster (underwriter). I get the entire story loosely outlined and begin to write the meat and bones of the story. Later, I go back and fill in with a strongly researched outline that is filled with detail. It works for me. So, what are you? A Plotter or a Panster?
Until next time…
*term definition are from masterclass.com