12 comments

  1. Okay, I’ll confess it, I’m a placard carrying fire breathing panster…most of the time. Yes, I have a *bit & bobs* file on my computer with dozens of partial stories, stories that hit a wall and eventually got abandoned. This post has given me food for thought. It might just be time to develop a plotting strategy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Hi, Kait. I’m not ready to jump back into ROW80, but I loved this post! (tweeted it too.) I’m a plotter with a little pantsing, and this described it perfectly. I’m just starting through Story Engineering again with a particular focus on structuring the sequel to my first MG time travel, and then I’ll be ready for NaNo. With Book One out, I can’t take years to do Book Two. Thanks!

  3. It’s taken me a long time to figure out where I am with pantsing/plotting and how I work best. But one of the things I didn’t understand early on was you can plot scenes as you go. So I’ve been moving toward having the outline with inciting incident, plot plots, climax, etc. (yes, thank you, Story Engineering!), having some scenes in mind, and then plotting others as I write. I stop for a while and work out the scene goals before wasting time writing something that will end up in the trash folder.

    I’ve thrown away too many words in the past! Plus, I agree with you about time. I was recently thinking how I’d rather stop writing for a few hours or days, working out plot and characterization kinks, then get back to it…than to write straight through and ended up wasting days or weeks going down the wrong path. Sometimes I think our emphasis on just getting words on a page stops us from doing the plot work we need to do to get the right words on the page.

    Great post, Kait!

  4. Thank you for a great post, Kait! I’m eager for this Round (got my post up and Linkied and everything!), and I even got my sister to say she’d join in, too (probably tomorrow or Wednesday)! WOOT!

    Personally, I’m kind of a plantser. I try to plot, and I get my beginning pretty well plotted out, and I sometimes have an ending in mind, but the middle … yeah, I tend to pants my way through the plotting of the middle. But I’ve been reading, and learning, and I’m re-plotting my beloved Work Still In Progress For Some Years Now, that I have never yet been able to finish, because it just wasn’t working, because PLOT! I am going to work out the PLOT! of this piece before NaNo, and do the rewrite for NaNo, working from what I’ve been learning about building story structure and the like.

  5. Great post! I find I’m becoming more of a plotter as time goes on, and I love it. There are still plenty of wonderful surprises, but knowing what the story’s structure looks like is saving me a lot of time and frustration. I always thought plotting would make things boring, but the opposite is true. It’s a lot easier to find beautiful little moments in the first draft when you’re not struggling just to find the main story.

  6. I’m kind of a hybrid, but as I write more books, I’m plotting more. Since I bought Scrivener, I find it easier to plot. Because it’s all RIGHT THERE. So the book I’m working on right now is partially plotted out. And I find myself adding stuff in between the different “index cards” when I think of something that needs to go between a couple of scenes. When I finally got out of my head that the plot was written in stone, I allowed myself to try it.

    When I took a class called Plotting for Pantsers, I realized the reason a lot of people don’t like to plot is that they’ve seen so many authors plot and plot for so long that it took them forever to start the book.

    I think I’m actually going to read Story Engineering.

  7. I too am still in the process of experimenting with my own plot/pants ratio and with different methods of plotting. Sometimes I wonder whether there’s really a process I’ll find that works for me across books or whether each book has its own process. Either way, I agree with you – plotting does not mean boredom! Thanks for the great post to get this round started. =*)

  8. I guess I always had a bit of plotter in me (even though I love organization and lists everywhere else, the one time I plotted in detail, the story never got written) because I’ll have the general theme and an idea of what it takes to reach the ending before I start pantsing, but I really like some of your spreadsheet questions in the posts you linked to; will try to use those more often.

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