Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Writing Wednesday--Plotting vs Pantsing

Ah, the age old debate--plotting vs pantsing. My friends, who are almost all non-writers, hear me throw these terms around and politely pretend like they have a clue what I'm saying. This past Saturday, one of them actually asked me to explain the difference, probably to keep me from going completely insane due to my constant struggle with formatting..

The easiest way to explain the difference: plotters definitely know what's happening, pantsers have a pretty general idea.

I say this because as a pantser myself, and having asked other pantsers, we're a lot more likely to be surprised at how something may or may not play out in the course of writing a book. When I start writing a particular book, I know how I want something to start, how I want it to end, and any super major events between point A and point B. Minor events? There's a good chance I don't have the first clue about them. And there have even been times when something minor has turned into something major and I didn't see it coming until either right before I started writing or in the middle of writing.

Like I said. I have a general idea. Not a specific one.

Plotters? They definitely know what's going to happen. For them, this is probably great. It probably sets their hearts aflutter with joy and their synapses firing at warp speed. You would think I would be a plotter. I plan out everything. Every-damn-thing. I live by schedules. There's a good possibility you could set your watch by me in relation to certain days and times. And yet, I cannot plot, as in write it down and stick to the damn thing to save my life. Well, maybe to save my life, but you know what I mean.

I'm sure psychologists would have a field day with the inherent differences between plotters and pantsers and how being one or the other relates to right or left brain dominance. I'm even more sure that in the long run, being a plotter or a pantsers doesn't make a difference. Putting the story on paper is what matters.

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