Or…where is the story going?
No, I am not yet wondering what happens after I am actually done with my WIP…(ok sometimes I do wonder but this is not the point here, *smile*). I am asking myself questions about where my story should go. I have reached more than 35000 words *does the Chandler dance* (this one in case you don’t know what I’m talking about :-))
I am starting to be worried about a possible ending to my story. So I decided to use my friend Google to gain some perspective on the dilemma a lot of writers face: outline or no outline?
That’s when I realized that writers do have a language of their own and the question I really should ask myself is: Am I a pantser or a plotter?
In a nutshell, the pantser goes with the flow while the plotter well plots…Let’s go back to Friends. One could say Monica is a plotter; she usually likes to make sure that everything is planned ahead while Phoebe on the other hand is a tad more the pantser type…Sometimes, it works better though when Monica gets out of her comfort zone and just let´s go (remember London?) while for Phoebe, when she actually thinks some things through, she gets a better result…
Ok enough Friends references 🙂
I currently only plan in my head the possible scene as I type it but this makes me now stop to ask myself THE question mentioned above: what happens next? Should I try to plot now to make sure I actually get to an ending at some point or do I just keep on going?
There does not seem to be ONE miracle solution but I need to find one that will work for me. And after much thinking, here is my take on this:
- I will keep on writing with the flow while I can
- I will learn more about plotting (so that I can use it when I hit a block road)
- I will show flexibility as everything related to my writing: it is OK to be a plotter one day and a pantser the other day or to become a hybrid.
- I will continue to seek advice from fellow writers (you guys rock!)
Now tell me (I am curious) Would you be a Monica or a Phoebe?
Some helpful links if you want to read others’ takes and advice on this:
- Writing with a formula (even if you’re not a plotter) By The Writers Alley
- Guest Author Roni Loren: Save the (Cat) Pantser! A Solution for Pantsers with Plotter Envy by The Other Side of the Story
- A method in the madness: Outlining as you write by Jody Hedlund
- Can a pantser become a plotter? by Katy Little Lady
- The way we are: pantser, plotter or in between? By Peggy Eddleman
- Pantser or plotter by The Book Doctor
6 thoughts on “The BIG question: Are you a Monica or a Phoebe?”
At the end of the day it depends on what the writer themselves are usually comfortable with. You don’t have to do heavy outlining if Monica isn’t your style, just get a piece of paper and jot a few notes down for the fortcoming scene. If that then leds to another plot line or event that you hadn’t thought of, write it down to keep and refer back to. Bit of a balance between plotting and pantser.
If this is your first draft of the W.I.P then just get the story out and try not to worry about the length or pace of it. Save the worrying and hair pulling for the editing. 😉 Just get the ending out no matter how much you think it may be dragging and when it comes to the editing, see how that pace works and either condense some writing or add to it. Sometimes when I write plots can seem to drag but that’s because I’m a slow writer at heart. When I look back on what I’ve written it doesn’t seem that slow.
And I’m definitely a Monica, writing and non-writing. 🙂 I’m already planning the changes in my head for the editing. Oy, I just don’t stop. Never mind, writing break soon once NaNo finishes!
Thanks Robin! I´ll definitely keep what you mention in mind “Save the worrying and hair pulling for the editing” 🙂 This is what is also happening these days, I am already editing the first scene in my mindI while I have not finished the novel 🙂 What I do though is I write the ideas down and keep going forward with the WIP. And who knows? Maybe I´ll be more of a Monica for some later chapters of the story 🙂 but for now I´ll just keep on writing Phoebe-like 🙂 Sometimes, I mix both though so I can see why it cannot always be one or the other…Good luck for the end of NaNo!
Haha, this is the big question. I’m more of a plotter, but unless I get some things down on paper my brainstorming for the plot stalls. So at the very early stages of my WIP, right now I’m doing a lot of character sketches, and I’m playing with character interactions scattered throughout my rough arch to try to force some plot-points to come up. I’d like to be more of a plotter, but right now it doesn’t seem to be working, so this is my process for the moment. Good luck with working towards your ending! 🙂
Thanks Robin and I can totally see why character sketches can help. I think I may try a different approach for my next novel (mix more of the Phoebe and Monica way) but for now I´m a Phoebe with a touch of Monica 🙂 My WIP is going well, I have about 37000 words and going strong 🙂
I’m a bit in between the both. I have a loose plot, i know where the shory is going and where it’s going to end, but it’s journey is somewhat hidden. I know major landmarks, but other than that I’m just Phoebe-ing it.
I go off down little paths, but always seem to find my way back to my plot. I’ve just started doing a little plan for each chapter as i get there, dot points of major key elements that are involved, but i think it really helps me keep on track.
Thanks for sharing French Maiden! I try to do more planning for certain chapters but for now I´m Phoebe with just a touch of Monica (my husband would say that I´m also not a Monica in the household :-)).
Hope your WIP is progressing well!