Case Studies For Writers

a craft toolbox

Mar 4, 2020

Plotting VS Pantsing: What You Need to Know

By Brittani Rose.

            As a writer, I have struggled with finding a way to plan my novel that works for me. I have tried to be a plotter; that failed me. I tried to be a pantser; that worked wonders for me and helped me win NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Not sure what a plotter or pantser is? Let me tell you.
            A plotter is someone who works best when they have a very detailed outline and a solid plan in place when it comes to their writing. A plotter usually has every aspect of their novel planned out so that they know what they are doing at all times. When I tried this, I spent weeks planning every aspect of a novel. Every scene and detail that I felt I would need. I worked hard on an outline that told me just what to write and when. I failed because, for me, having planned all those details made me feel like I didn’t have control over the storyline anymore.

            How can you try to be a plotter? I suggest taking lots of notes on the storyline you have in mind. Write down every detail you think is important. Work out the plot points and fill in the blanks on how to get from one to another. Figure out what character arcs you want to achieve and take notes on all your characters. I suggest even taking notes as you write on details you come up with while writing. Taking notes is one way to keep your details and plan in place. This will help you when you hit a patch of writer’s block and need assistance in figuring out where to go next. Once you have all this done, start writing. Pick a place to start, someplace you feel confident in starting, and just write. See how far these details take you.
            A pantser is someone who works best with an outline, or with only the bare minimum amount of details, mainly just the major plot points that they want to have in their story. A pantser generally works off the top of their head and makes up the details as they go. When I tried this, it worked amazingly for me. I wrote fifty-five thousand words during November 2019. I found that I could change my storyline any way I wanted to so I could hit all my plot points. I found that not having so many details helped me with figuring out how I wanted the story to go.
            How can you try to be a pantser? I suggest you sit down and take a few notes. Mainly ideas of what you think you want to happen in your storyline. Figure out what your plot points are and any specific details you want included in them. From here, make small notes about your characters, mainly things that identify them as their own person. This will help you keep track of each character and their identifying characteristics. Once you have these things done, move on with writing. Pick a plot point you don’t have to go in order and write. See where this takes you. 
            When deciding whether to write as a plotter or a pantser, remember: one is not better than the other. It’s just how you prefer to work on your novels. Be proud of how you work on your novels. It doesn’t matter how you write, as long as you get those words on the paper. I enjoy pantsing in different ways, from most. I like to pants most of the story with a small outline of just my main plot points. This helps me know where I need to go and which direction I need to steer the story. Just remember, stick to what works for you. No two writers are the same.


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About the Author: Brittani Rose
I am a married mother of two. I am a stay at home mom. I run a YouTube channel geared toward reading and writing. I also run an Instagram account geared toward books I have read, and give my honest review on them. I have written short stories since middle school. I was entered into a few writing contests, though I didn't win, it taught me more of how I enjoy to write. I am currently working on what I hope to be my debut novel that I hope to have to agents by next year.