Plotster vs. Pantster

June 24, 2009 at 9:53 am (The Craft, Writings) (, , , , , , )

     VS  

 

Up until recently, I’ve always considered myself a pantster. (If you’re clueless to the terms a plotster is an author who meticulously plots each aspect of their novel while a pantster just writes, letting the story flow as it comes to them)  I felt like I could just let the muse direct the story through me onto the paper.  Wow, I was wrong.  I realized that some kind of plotting or outlining is needed.  Otherwise, you find yourself banging your head when the story plots repeat or the direction gets lost in the prose.  I found out the hard way. I’m in the middle of editing my YA story Broken, and after issues with writing a synopsis, character motivation and too much of this going on, and too much nonessential scenes – I realized my faux pas.  I’m going to have to plot this puppy. So I bought foam board, and thank goodness Staples had a monster pack of Sticky notes and Sharpies on sale.  And I did what I should have early on – I plotted Broken.  And do you know what I found? I could see the whole picture and see where I could tighten scenes that weren’t flowing.  I could move a scene and see how it made the rest flow stronger.  And I came up with a better opening!!!!

So what do you?  I know this question has been asked before.  But if you plot and outline, what methods and techniques do you use?  Or if you like to fly by the seat of your pants, how do you keep it all organized?

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5 Comments

  1. C. said,

    After working with me over the past 11 weeks, you know my answer. I’m an anal plotter to the core. I need to know what’s going to happen so I can weave in important details throughout the story, upping the tension and dropping clues to the resolution.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone should be as anal as me. Sometimes, it’s nice to let the story just flow. But sometimes that leads to frustratingly long rewrites. But in the end, a story is a story, and that’s what we writers want to acheive.

    • Cate Hart said,

      Sometimes anal is good! 😉 (And I totally didn’t mean that as a pun. LOL) I think I’m finding a happy medium, though! I think having you and Sherry as CP’s has taught me the discipline of the craft, things as a writer I already knew but had yet to apply. Oh, I think I know what my next post will be about! The invaluableness of having Critique Partners!!!!!!

  2. Charlotte McClain said,

    I once read an interview with Harrison Ford where he talked about rehearsing scenes. He said he didn’t like to rehearse scenes too much because when he did that all the emotion got sucked out of them. That’s how I am about writing. I once plotted a novel from chapter 1 to the end and by the time I finished, I was so bored with it, I never wrote it. So now I start at the beginning and stumble through like a blind woman in a maze. Sometimes I’ll make notes, but most of the time it’s just what manages to survive the sieve I call a brain.

  3. Stephanie Draven said,

    I am trying to be a plotter this time around and I’m using Scrivener to do it. I have a wonderful set up. I know how to get all the balls in the air. It’s the middle and towards the end that I get very confused…

  4. Kendal Ashby said,

    I love the picture with the post-it notes! Very cute, Cate! The quick answer for me is I plot enough to get going, but write on a curve as to what will happen next. I must, must, must know the ending and have that plotted out, otherwise I feel like I am just doggie paddling in the deep end.
    Kendal

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