What is your approach to writing? Do you sit down and let the ideas pour out of you naturally, free from strict direction, or do you plan every detail of your novel before putting pen to paper?
If you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants, that makes you a Pantser, a type of writer who doesn’t plan or agonize over the details. You come. You write. You finish whenever the story feels complete.
A Plotter, on the hand, does research before he or she arrives. A Plotter outlines. A Plotter writes according to the outline. A Plotter finishes the story where the outline dictates.
So, which one are you? In the past, I would have considered myself a Pantser. There will always be a part of me that wants to sit down and write without any idea of where the story is going or how it will end but after writing my first book, I made a conscious effort to become a Plotter.
Flying by the seat of my pants led to extra work down the line. Four stages of editing, two complete manuscript revisions, character revisits, plugging plot holes – these are just a few issues I ran into. Being a Pantser was wonderfully freeing but it created problems later on that I felt were harder to address because of the sheer length of my book.
As a Pantser, I didn’t have an outline to follow. I didn’t have character development sheets or world-building notes to keep me in line. I just went with whatever came.
You could say I switched to being a Plotter because I prefer to deal with the issues beforehand rather than later.
And maybe that’s the point of being a Pantser or Plotter. It’s writing in a way that works for you, a decision of whether to agonize over the details before you start or after you’ve finished. These days, I’m a total Plotter.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what kind of writer you are as long as you’re writing. Whether you wing it or meticulously outline, just be sure to get to the writing part and you’ll be dandy!