Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
Written by
Lisa Dyer
August 2014
Written by
Lisa Dyer
August 2014

So, here's the thing - are you a 'plotter' or a 'pantser'? In your writing I mean.

Do you spend hours plotting the A story, the B story, the sub-plot, the bombs, the pay offs...marking them on coloured cards that denote this character or that character. Maybe you use a spreadsheet like J.K.Rowling. If you do then you're a planner.

Or, maybe, like me, you have a very good idea of your story and characters and can even see the last page but the bit in the middle is a whole adventure waiting to happen. I'm a pantser

It's just the way I write. To a degree I have notes - usually scribbled on bits of paper that find themselves tucked away in a pocket, written down as the thought occurs. But I tend to start off with the idea, incorporate the thoughts and let the story carry me along. 

I've never really enjoyed the process of writing a treatment. Invariably I find that after I have spent an age doing that, once I start writing, the story goes so wildly off track as to be totally organic and seemingly with a life of its own.

I know some writers swear by the planning and plotting stage and love the feel of a fresh block of coloured index cards in their hands but me, never got my head around it. 

Well..I say that...but then today I've given it a whirl. I found a fairly simple template to use (believe me, some of them were so complex as to fry my brain). I've modified it to suit my own needs and I've printed off the format. I've started to add ideas to it but I don't know...

So, what brought about this change of heart...I'm trying to write a story set both in the present and the past and it's going to get out of control if I don't round it up and bring some order to the proceedings! Maybe this will help.

Let's be friends

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  • Lisa Dyer

    I'm wavering between the two at the moment. I think, trying to tie down the threads needs planning but I'm also just bouncing from one scene to the next. I think this comes from spending so long writing scripts (competition grade, not production stuff!). 

  • Desiree

    I used to be a pantser but never finished any work when I was. Once I converted to plotting, I was able to finally finish my novel. 

    I don't think there's just one way to plot though. Plotting doesn't have to be super complex though, as you mentioned. You can definitely adapt various plotting methods to fit your style, schedule and personal preferences.