Sunday, 28 May 2017

Plotting V Pantsing

In my last post, I talked about task management. I think it is very important to know what it is that you want to achieve in the time you set aside for writing. A lot of writers have a habit of procrastinating. I think a lot of this is not knowing what to do next, or what needs to be done to achieve a goal.

I thought I was a pantser - someone who heads into a project with minimal planning, and so I rarely knew what I needed to get done. I have since discovered that whilst I like the creativity that comes from writing a story without knowing the full details, that is where I fall down. I stop, not knowing where I am going. So I have decided to become a plotter.

It makes sense, to have a road map of where the story is going to end up. And it solves the issue of poor endings, something which I have personally struggled with. Plotting and planning is where creativity is set free, and mistakes are less costly in terms of time.

Previously I would have thought that planning was a waste of my writing time. In my opinion, I could only say I am writing if I am increasing a word count. But I have read that many successful authors spend weeks, if not months planning a story. I am reading 'The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure'. When I bought it, I thought I would dip in and out as and when I needed. But I soon learned that I needed a more in depth knowledge on the subject, so committed to reading it fully before I do the plotting of the novel. Reading the book is research. And as a result, I have plenty of ideas, not just for the current project, but for others. My story will be much better in terms of substance and plot because I have decided to work out the details before hand. And now, I still see myself as writing, even if the word count is not increasing. If I am working towards the goal of getting the story written, it is worth it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And does it work for you?


  1. I'm a panster, I tried to be a planner a few years ago, it was very hard and I couldn't get along with it. Now I mostly pants my way along with a little bit of planning.
    As for reading/researching, I also accept this is valuable.

    1. I used to be a pantser similar to you. In fact, I am thinking of doing a blog post on combining the two! I am much preferring the planning bit first though.

  2. I'll be interested to see how planning works for you, Ingrid! I've always been a total panster but have now and then thought about having at least an outline of some kind. Not sure it would work for me but one novel I'm working on certainly benefits from having a more structured story line - at least regarding the time scale of the story. Might rethink some of my (too many) works in progress.

    1. I thought I was a pantser too! But one of the things I often do is abandon a story half way through as I am tackling it from the wrong POV or writing the wrong story, or something better could have happened. I then hate the editing process as it is a complete rewrite. I am enjoying the process so far, and I am sure I will blog about it more in the future. Time will tell!


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