What’s up Creatosphere? How you all doing out there? I hope this video is finding you well, wherever and whenever you are.
Welcome to yet another episode of Write On In.
I am your host, Mr. Andrew J. Stillman, and today we’re going to talk about a couple of definitions for words you might hear floating around the writing community:
Pantsers and Plotters.
What the heck is a pantser and who the heck is a plotter?
If you’re asking yourself that question, you’ve asked the right question at the right time, no without further ado —
Let’s get Write On In.
Let’s not waste any time diving on in today.
If you’ve heard the term “pantser” and all you picture is someone running around pantsing people —
You’ve got it right for the main definition, but not so in the world of the writers.
A “pantser” in the writing community is a writer who essentially gets an idea, sits down, and writes it out.
Some lightning-struck plot comes to them and they just run straight to their computer and start pouring it out across the keyboard.
This is oftentimes approached with an “I’ll just see how far I can get” attitude that, before you know it, turns into a full-fledged creative work.
Plotters hate pantsers.
Maybe not as abrasively as “hate,” but those who fall under the “plotters” category cannot just sit down and write like that.
They need to know everything about the story before they even begin.
Full character list.
Character backstories, birthdates, home towns, Zodiac information.
Basically anything they need to know about the story is, you guessed it, “plotted” out before the first page is even written.
See, plotters don’t always like pantsers because they don’t have the ability to simply sit down and write.
Pantsers don’t always like plotters because they think too much time is spent planning things out.
Spending too much time in the development phase has you running the risk of losing steam and interest in the project before you even hit Page One.
Diving in without a lifeline, however, could potentially have you writing yourself into a corner without the slightest idea of where the story goes or how to end it.
A lot of people — myself included — dabble with something of a mix of a two, and that is called a “plantser.”
Any Google search of the terms will land you on a whole list of articles on this topic, accompanied with a wide variety of different opinions on which is best.
There’s even little tests and quizzes that allow you to see where you fit onto the spectrum.
You can also more than likely find details about your favorite author and their preferred method of novel writing.
If you’re new to the game and haven’t even written a book yet, these terms can be a bit overwhelming.
You may end up finding yourself in something of an identity crisis trying to figure out where to fit.
But hold on a second.
Don’t trip over something as minuscule as this. Trust me.
If you’re asking yourself which method is best, my first piece of advice is this:
#1 Choose for yourself.
What works for one person might not work for another, and that is why we have these separation in terms in the first place.
Your writing journey should always see you trying to find your own voice, and figuring out how you approach crafting and creating a novel helps you narrow that down.
My other piece of advice is this:
#2 Let the book decide for you.
The story has a mind of its own?
Oh, young Padawan, how much you have to learn.
Stories and characters always take on a life of their own, and that sentence acts as both a pro and a con for all pantsers, plotters, and anyone in between.
If you’ve never written a book, you can’t understand what I just said until you do.
If you have written a book — even just one — you already know how it goes.
How about for me?
Am I pantser, a plotter, or a plantser?
That is a great question, and after writing out eight different manuscripts so far, I still don’t know.
I have dabbled with both, and while I have total pros and cons for all methods, I usually default to plantsing without really trying, no matter what method I try to use.
As for today, I think that is all I have on the never-ending debate of pantsing vs plotting vs hopefully trying to find an in-between that works for you.
But, really, let’s put the labels aside for a second here.
Anything you do that takes your story from your brain to your computer screen is good enough.
So go forth, and write.
Just don’t pants anybody for real in the meantime.
See you next week!