Thursday, September 1, 2011
Go ahead, give it a shot
You can't go very many days in the writing blog world without coming across a post about plotting or being a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer. These posts are usually titled something like Plotter vs. Pantster.
And I used to pride myself on being a pantster.
English was always my best subject growing up. I had no problem pumping out several-page papers. Essay questions were my forte. And I'd brag about straight A's (without ever writing an outline). In college, it went the same way, and when I began my career in a writing field (journalism) my attitude continued.
I did my best writing by simply sitting down and writing. Fast and furious.
Then I read a writing book, and the idea for my new story began unfolding in my head. I imagined plot twists and character arcs, settings and a killer climax. I decided to write it down.
I spent several hours working on my outline (which my crit partner told me was actually a synopsis since it wasn't in list form). This was a whole new experience for me. The synopsis ended up being a couple of typed pages. This was decidedly anti-pantster behavior, but it felt natural, so I went with it.
And you know what? I don't think I'll ever write another novel without a synopsis first. It has made such a difference in the speed of my writing. It has made such a difference in knowing exactly where I'm going. It's made such a difference in remembering where the story started.
I'm in love. Plotting IS worthwhile.
Now while I work on my WIP, I have the synopsis up on my computer at the same time. I highlight each sentence as I finish that portion of my story. It gives me a rough idea of how far along I am. If I make major changes in the story, I add those into my synopsis so that the end result will be a good summary of the book.
So today I'm challenging you to give the other team a try. Are you a strict plotter? Then try to write something letting the creative process flow with no worry of where things are going until you get there. Are you a pantster? Give an outline or a synopsis a chance.
Go ahead, play for the other team this once. You never know what you might discover.
Plotter or Pantster? Are you open to switching things up a bit?
Posted by Maggie at 6:58 AM