March 24, 2010 by Renee
This will be a three part post. (shorter posts equals happy readers) I was going to write a post about structuring your novel. Should you plot or pants it? Of course, I have an opinion, I always do, but I wanted to know where everyone else stood in terms of whether or not to structure their work before beginning. What am I talking about? I’ll clarify.
Plotter: Outlines novel from beginning to end before writing. Research, characters, setting, etc. is all firmly planned and fleshed out before typing a word of the story.
Pantser: Just as it sounds, the writer sort of ‘flies by the seat of their pants’. These writers just go with their inspiration and follow the story where it leads them. (shudders at the thought)
Obviously these are the extremes. There are many writers who fall somewhere in the middle. First I want to hear your thoughts. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Or do you fall somewhere in the middle? Are you a Plontser? How important is it for the writer to establish a firm outline? Is it more important to allow the creative juices to flow, without forcing them into a structure? How do you begin? What are your thoughts?
I’m also wondering whether your writing methods depend on the genre in which the you write in. I know that historical, fantasy, and science fiction writers have to research; gathering facts, building worlds and languages, and things like that before they write. I can’t imagine pantsing it with this type of writing. I’ve written both ways, and I prefer plotting simply because I’m easily distracted.
So hit me with your comments. How do you write? (smartasses can kindly refrain from the urge to say ‘carefully’ or ‘one word at a time’. Yeah, I know who you are.)