Welcome to the Big Reveal
I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.
Pantser, Planner or in-betweener?
Pantser. Planning makes me feel restricted, even though I know I am free to change my plan if necessary. I just prefer to have a very basic outline in my head and let the rest flow freely.
Plotter. I work from a spreadsheet and need to know exactly what happens before I write.
I go in with a vague idea of where I’m headed but often find the story detours, at which point I go with the flow. If I steer too much, the whole of it just comes off forced. I mean, we’ve all read books and seen movies where it’s like: plot point, plot point, plot point. You can tell these things are all outlined and broken down to hell. Formulaic. No offense to planners, of course, but I believe in remaining flexible–though always true to character, which for me is the most important thing.
Pantser. I wish I was a better planner! I’ve tried, but I get frustrated trying to write outlines. It’s easier for me to just start writing.
>>>Planner to the core! Can you say 60 page outline? Ha! BUT, my characters and story always surprise me, so a lot of adjusting happens along the way, and I’ve learned to embrace it. I’ve tried pantsing like all the ‘cool’ writers, but those drafts never get finished.
I once heard MG author Liesl Shurtliff say she was a planster. That word fits me perfectly. I plan things out, but I go where ever writing takes me. Sometimes I readjust my plan when it gets off course, but sometimes I just keep going with the flow and see where it takes me.
Julie Sondra Decker
I’m definitely a complete pantser. And it’s gotten me into trouble more times than I can count. Being a pantser for me is all about having character-led narratives, and I’m trying to learn to go in with more plot structure so I don’t end up with a book that’s nothing but characters wallowing in their aimless lives. At least five of my finished novels really never went anywhere. The ones that did, in recent years, seem to have done so by accident. I’d never be able to write a mystery or a thriller or an epic fantasy because so many seeds need to be planted without leaving too many fingerprints, but I seem to have found my niche with “man vs. self” plots. That way wallowing in someone’s thoughts and presenting a psychological plot can be exciting instead of reading like navel-gazing..
Pantser, Planner or in-between?