Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A to Z - All Things Writing : Plotters and Pantsers

Welcome to the Blogging A to Z Challenge, where, this month, I'll be focusing on all things writing. This may be a random jumping around of topics within my theme, but hopefully something somewhere will be useful to someone. (V is for vague - see that last sentence.) Check out all the participants here . Now, lets get on with today's letter.

P is for Plotters and Pantsers

If you get a bunch of writers together in the same room or forum, you'll soon learn that there are two main camps. There are pantsers and plotters. Building off of yesterdays outlining post, this seemed an appropriate direction to wander.

Plotters, are those organized writers who spends weeks or months or even longer in preparation before ever committing a word to the actual story. They outline, research, and create character sheets. Plotters might even break the whole book down by scene and know what happens and who will be in it. I've met a couple of people who do just that. Once they get to writing, it's just a matter of filling in the scene and checking it off. This sounds like the perfect method for those who like to jump around while writing that first draft because everything is still relatively organized.

A plotter would know their character, Gary's every quirk, his detailed physical description, that he failed math in the fourth grade, that he has a rash on his left elbow and prefers blondes because they remind him of the hot lady that used to live next door when he was twelve.

Pantsers like to just sit down and marvel at the words that flow from their fingers. Their stories seem to have a life of their own, twisting and turning in unexpected directions from day to day. You might often hear a pantser saying something like their character isn't speaking to them or they aren't behaving. If you're a plotter, this may sound like a bit of nonsense or outright insanity. Sorry, it's just how we write. We're often surprised by where our story is going and where it ends up.

A panster would say: Wow, when this story started I had no idea Gary was gay and that he was allergic to olives and that's what would spur him into discovering the cure for feline baldness!

Then there are the plantsers, the hybrid writers who plan a little and wing the rest.  

Which one are you?

Would you like a free e-book? This April, I'm giving away free copies of my new anthology, Destiny Pills & Space Wizards. Claim your copy here: Enter code atozpromo
Prefer paperback? The print book goes live on April 20. Reviews are always appreciated.


  1. Now I'm not sure which to call myself. I'm still deciding what to writ next in my diary novel. I have some ideas but still ma not sure how to usr them just yet.

  2. I'm a plansters, I like to plot and outline a story but then all those ideas just gets tossed once I start writing but a little of it would be used somehow. but I totally envy plotters because they sound like they know all at once the entire story and that is always what I strive to get at - the entire story but I'm not organized enough for that.

    have a lovely day.

    my latest a-z is: paper pollyannas

  3. So definitely a plotter. Then again, I think it also depends on the genre. I write historical fiction, which means I can't just jump in and see where it goes... setting needs to come first. :D

    The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

  4. HI Jean - I sort of have an idea of what I want to write about and then let it happen ... but if I was writing a book - I'm sure I'd do via plotting! Cheers Hilary


Join the conversation. It gets lonely in here without you.