If you’re involved in the writing world to any extent, I’m sure you’ve heard the question ‘Are you a panster or a plotter?’. I am without a doubt a plotter. I’m more certain of that now then ever. I used to think I sat somewhere in the center. I’d come up with a rough idea and try and work my way through. Inevitably I’d stall and waste vast amounts of time rewriting and changing what I’d already written in the hopes of finding the story path again. However, in recent stories, I’ve been working out more detailed story outlines which has made the writing of the story so much smoother. I need the road map, I need to pre-plan each step of the journey my characters go on. Having that guide keeps me from spinning my wheels. In a recent post I wrote how I am working on a story with a partner. The good news is we just finished the story. In fact, we’re just about to send it out to beta readers before we start submitting it. I firmly believe that without a solid outline we’d still be muddling through. Yes, we varied as the story progressed, but with two people writing we didn’t have the luxury of pantsing our way through. We each needed to be able to pick up where the other left off and know where to go next. It really streamed lined the process and in the end gave us a great bare bones synopsis.
I realize, however, that within each of these categories of writers I know there are degrees. Some people get an idea and reveal in the thrill of discovery as they write. Some create a loose series of plot points and then meander their way along. Others plot the story to within an inch of it’s life. They use collages, story boards, colored note cards, etc.
So I ask, are you a plotter? If so, to what techniques do you use to plot. If you don’t plot what is your method of writing?