Author Tips: Plotter or Pantser?

Hey Wanderers and Writers!

Ah, the great author debate… I see it everywhere on social media. Plotters and pantsers fighting over which method is right. Big-time pros telling aspiring writers which one they have to be. Sure the advice coming from the big-timers is sound and they have the awards and experience to prove it. But, what works for them, may not work for you. And that is okay.

Let’s start with what these words even mean.

Plotter: someone who outlines a book from start to finish before writing it. The plot is mapped, the characters are created, conflicts and resolutions planned and timelines are written out. Some writers do more in depth plotting and some do less, it varies because no two writers have the same process.

Pantser: someone who just writes right away, with an idea in their head but they ‘write by the seat of their pants’ and bust out a first draft. Sometimes they have notes here and there. Sometimes they don’t. It’s in the revision process where the details are hashed out. The first draft is their plotting. Some argue this method is more work, regardless, it depends on the writer.

The Hybrid: this one doesn’t have an official name so I assigned one just now, I am The Hybrid after all. This method is a variation of both a plotter and a pantser. Some pieces are plotted deeply as the story is written out from just an idea. I tend to just write and when a big detail or character emerges, I pause to take detailed notes and then write some more.

I’ve tried all the above methods to find the one that works best for me. Hybrid is the winner. I have character bios after I’ve written the character into the story. Plot points and timelines noted after they’ve already begun in the draft. Conflict and action happens as I write. World building is written out into the draft then toned down during revisions. It just works for me.

What will work for you? There is no rule that says you can’t be all three or none of the above. Write for you, learn as you go and you will get better with each project you complete.

Keep on writing and keep them boots wandering!

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