Hey, everyone! Today I wanted to talk all about pantsing vs plotting, how it’s really a spectrum and where I fit into it all. Plus I’m going to share what worked (and really didn’t) for me with Hybrid and Broken. I first spoke about this in my podcast entitled plotting vs pantsing. Click the link if you wanna pop on over and check it out. As in the podcast: plotting is where you map out your entire story and pantsing is where you walk out the door and see where the story takes you. One is structured, the other is really, really not. There are pros and cons for both. Plotting pro: you know where you are going. You know everything that is going to happen. Plotting con: some people dislike the idea that this may stifle their creativity (*snort*). Pantsing pro: you get to discover the story as you write. Pantsing con: it takes a lot longer for most pantsers to finish their story. Mostly because, just like with building a cabinet without instructions, you don’t really know what you’re doing until you do it.
Do any of these sound like you? Some people will be nodding. Some will be looking at me with one eyebrow raised in confusion. Neither of these are me. I used to be a pantser. Hybrid was written entirely with the barest idea of where I was going. I had a point A and a rough idea of point B. It took a long, long time to finish. And when I did finally finish, point B was two books away. Once I finished the first draft I plotted Hybrid out by writing down every scene in the book. [I apologise if I’ve written this somewhere before… I’m getting deja vu. but I cannot figure it out] So, once it’s all written out I could see where I went wrong, and I could also see new avenues for the story. For example, using this method, I was able to add a (now crucial) romantic subplot between two of the characters. I learnt a helluva lot using this method, but it still took a long, long time to write the book. I don’t want to take that long with Broken. Plus, with everything that happened, especially all the unanswered questions, I need a way to ensure they all make an appearance, and that some of those questions are answered. So for Broken, I did something… Not quite an outline, there are no bullet points, and I have no idea how the chapters will be divided. To me, it feels like I wrote the first draft. By hand and super condensed. It is literally the skeleton of the story. There is a lot to be added. My first 20k words consisted of the first two pages – handwritten pages mind you. This is a new method for me, but it is working and highlights the spectrum I was talking about earlier. I am not a plotter. I am not a pantser. I am a pantser who plots… I am near the middle of the spectrum, leaning a little more towards pantsing over plotting. Mostly because I go off on tangents.
For example, I wrote in my outline/draft that Gryphon buys a horse. I had no name, no idea of what happens. But when I wrote the scene Gryphon sings to her horse, Blade. She also deals with a super annoying stable master who underestimates her because she is female. Another place is where Gryphon is in a battle where she becomes injured. Her one night stay becomes dragged out because I saw an opportunity and ran with it. Introducing new characters, new concepts and found a way to explain potion making in relation to magic… I pantsed the heck out of that scene.
Some people sit on the plotting side, and need to know each little scene before they start. Some like to sit and run with the story, learning as you go. I am smack bang in the middle. I like knowing while also discovering, and I hope that with my new method, I can cement this into my writing style with Broken and books beyond.
Where do you fit?
As always, hope you enjoyed.