Romy's Blog

Pantsers vs Plotters

Since last week's post was a rather stern one, full of Dos and Dont's, I thought this week I'd tackle a much lighter topic.

If you're new to writing you may have wondered what the hell a 'pantser' is and been too afraid to ask. Fear no more!

Very simply, Pantsers are writers who fly by the seat of their pants. These are the writers who open their new document on Day 1 and just start writing. Somewhere around 50,000 words they might have figured out who their hero is, and what this story is about.

Plotters, at the other end of the spectrum, are the people who create detailed outlines of each chapter, and know exactly what will happen at every point in the story from beginning to end, before they ever write a single word.

Most of us fall somewhere in between. When I first started writing, I leaned more towards being a Pantser. These days I do a lot of research before I start writing, get to know my characters well before I start, have a clear idea of what major decisions / turning points they need to face, and what they need to learn before the story ends, before I can start writing. However, the actual details of where the scenes take place, who the secondary characters are, and what will happen in each scene sometimes takes me by surprise as I'm going along. Often, that's where the real magic is - in the discoveries we make along the way.

What kind of writer are you - a Plotter, a Pantser, or somewhere in between?

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