Monday, June 09, 2008

Dashing madly into the Mist

Good morning, everyone! This week our theme is Plotter or Pantser. For those unfamiliar with the terms, a plotter is someone who studiously writes down every step of the plot she's working on while a pantser is a person who, um, writes, um, well, by the seat of her pants, hence 'pantser'. These folk are also referred to as 'flying into the mist' because while they may know their destination, they've no real idea how they're going to get there.

Okay, confession time. I'm a pantser. At least most of the time. I may know a few points between my story beginning and end but I may not. I've dabbled with doing a plot in advance. It doesn't seem to work for me because I'll inevitably change the major turning points. Or the setting. Or the characters. Or...I'll drop the whole project.

I guess I'm just one of those people who doesn't like to be confined or constricted (these terms are my opinion only in reference to me--I know some plotters who do a wonderful job and feel quite liberated using a plot). I've heard some pantsers say an already created plot bores them. Yet plotters say having a fully developed plot at hand keeps them from getting lost and spending hours or days trying to fix a looming plot hole.

I suspect there are merits to both sides.

For me, I start with a character who has a goal and a problem reaching that goal. I tend to let the plot grow out of that. Of course, I want my character to attain her goal and overcome her problem and I want it done in a rather dramatic way. So that provides me with an idea for the ending. I do this for both major characters and the villain (if there is one). Occasionally, I'll have an idea for a turning point or two but as I said earlier, I may not. I just begin to write, blindly. By the seat of my pants. Heading into the mist.

So far, it's worked for me.

Let's have a discussion. What are you? A plotter or pantser?

-- Lynda

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Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Lynda, mostly a pantser. although, sometimes, the basic plot is just there. But I love it when my characters do something completely unexpected, until I write it!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Savanna! You and I are alike :D I love it when my characters do or say something surprising too. It just seems like they've taken over (when it's good, lol) and that makes the writing so much faster, don't you agree?