Today’s prompt for #ASummerInWriting is Plotter or Pantser.
A plotter is someone who plans their story before writing it. They outline. They usually know what happens in each chapter. I wish I could underline “usually” because they are many varying degrees and ways of being a plotter or pantser.
When you’re a pantser, the idea is you sit at your computer and write without a detailed outline or a roadmap. A pantser is someone who “flies by the seat of their pants.”
There are a lot of articles detailing both processes as well as the way some authors can be pantsing scenes while plotting chapters or vice-versa 🙂 Jami Gold has a comprehensive article entitled “Pantser vs. Plotter vs. Something In Between” if you’re interested in learning more.
I am a little bit of both.
I don’t have a very detailed outline. I do have a bit of a roadmap. I usually know how the story ends. I mean it’s a romance so there’s a happy ending, but I usually have the epilogue scene playing in my mind like a movie. I know some of the plot points. Buuuuut…I learn about the story and more about my characters as I start typing. Which means that things change. A lot.
Since I started using Scrivener, I write scenes out of order.
I revise them and re-write them as needed and so when I type “The End” on my first draft, it’s in a much different place than for my first novels.
Because I learned that if I just go to the end without going through that process, if I just push through and continue writing the story without going back to change some things, to polish other scenes, to get more into the head of my characters, I end up needing way more time to re-work said first draft. I’ve been known to completely re-write books because that first draft wasn’t working. And I found that it’s more motivating to me and less time-consuming if I write the scenes out of order, re-write them or delete them if they don’t work and if they do work, make them shine as much as I can before typing “The End.
That first draft is not my final manuscript. Far from it. Revisions still happen of course. But once I type “The End” on my first draft, it’s much much closer to being ready to be sent to my critique partners.
So now, my first drafts may take me a bit longer (depending on the novel but I should do another post on that :-)), but they require less work after typing “The End.