I believe that every writer has their own pattern or set of ‘writing rules’ that they follow as they create.
Some are Plotters. In the beginning process this type of writer will plot detailed outlines. They’ll make charts with sticky notes, a dry erase board or recipe cards they can rearrange as they write and their story characters, actions or motivations change. Very detailed, they not only know their characters inside and out, they know each scene and have it planned to the most minor detail.
Others just sit down and write. These are the Pantsters. They have a basic concept, but prefer to have the story come to them as they write. The story takes the lead and they follow with the click of their keyboard. They write and write and write without stopping, getting as many words on paper as possible. Then, when they feel the story is complete, they go back over it and tweak it. Deepen the POV, fill in description and scene, maybe weave in another subplot. Basically fill in the blanks and give it a fine tune until it sparkles and shines.
Still others will write out of order. I’ve never heard of a label attached to this style of writing, but I call it the Hairpuller (lol…that’s just because it frustrates me). First they might work on chapter one to introduce the main characters and get a better feel for them. Then they might move to chapter five for a huge action scene. From there they jump ahead further to the last chapter to finish the story and see how it works before moving back to fill in the blanks with chapter two. Aaahh…you must write linear…lol (at least I must).
There are probably more styles out there, but these are the main ones I hear other writers talk about. On occasion I like to shake things up on myself and see if I’m missing something. If I try another way of getting my story written, will it improve my writing, keep my motivation high or help me work faster.
Nope… :). I have tried these methods and they aren’t for me. But hats off to the writers that can follow them. That’s the wonderful thing about writing, you can do it your own way. 🙂
For me, the authors that write out of order amaze me. I just can’t wrap my mind around that one. Lol. I must have order and direction. I have to follow from the beginning, starting with point A and ending with point Z.
Then comes the Pantster. To write without having an idea where your story is going…an incredible concept I can’t fathom. I have tried to just sit in front of my laptop and start with one idea and go. And I can actually do it for awhile, but then I notice I start writing scenes or allowing my characters to have dialogue that really doesn’t advance the story. Or worse yet, I’ll write my characters into a corner and will have to backtrack to get them out and moving in another direction and I end up with a lot of detail I really don’t want or need.
But I’m also not a total Plotter. I think that would take to much organization on my part…lol…and I’d feel like I was wasting to much time mapping everything out when I should be writing.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I have one leg in and one leg out of my pants! And I definitely keep my hands away from my hair, so hairpulling is totally out :).
If you’re wondering what I mean by having one leg in and one leg out, let me clarify.
Basically I plot my stories by making a GMC (goal, motivation and conflict) chart for each character. I know some authors will even do this scene by scene, but I don’t go that deep in the plotting process. Then I write a small bio for each main character and if I have a villain they also get the GMC and bio too. From there I basically write a quickie outline with the major plot points, which also acts as my rough draft for a synopsis. My chart/outline doesn’t include the fluff stuff of the story, but the big points that move the story along. I find if I go into to much detail, I feel frustrated when my story veers in another direction…and I have to say my stories always veer in another direction. I like that I know where my story is going on the major points, but on the other hand I like the fact that something about a character or a scene can pop up and change a detail, adding a new level and depth to a character I hadn’t considered. Thus making my story deeper and more real. (I hope).
This works for me because it keeps me excited about the story. I don’t know every minor detail and I’ll still have some surprises thrown at me, but it also keeps me on track because I know just enough to have direction.
So I am technically a pantster with one leg out for plotting. LOL…does that make sense?
It’s funny how being a pantster or a plotter really fits into everyone’s world, even non-writers.
Some of us like to have lists and schedules and know what we are doing every minute of everyday. Then others fly by the seat of their pants. Jump from bed each morning and go with the flow. Still others (like me), have a general idea, certain things planned and plotted, but let other things come and go as they will.
But the interesting thing here is that I believe someone that writes and is a plotter in their writing could very well be a pantster in every other aspect of their lives. Hmm…makes you think doesn’t it?
What about you, writer or not, are you a plotter, pantster or do you hop around when you are putting your pants on with one leg in and one leg out?