Plotting vs. pantsing

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I have an issue with the word pantsing. It reminds me of the word dacking. It gives me horrific flashbacks to bad primary school memories.

But for the sake of this discussion, we’re going to call outlining a novel prior to writing it ‘plotting’ and not outlining a novel – just going into it with a general idea of what it’s about and no other planning – ‘pantsing’.

I’m not sure which I am. The novel formerly known as These Bones – the one for which I have a book deal – was written without any outline, though I had a clear idea of the characters and their individual struggles, as well as a few scenes I wanted to add. My previous two novels were the same.

But now, I’ve written an entire outline for my new novel (third attempt at writing it). I have a chapter-by-chapter run down. I have character sketches and a brief synopsis. I have a blurb. I am so pre-planned if I were any more pre-planned I would pre-plan myself to death. So maybe I’m growing into a plotter? Or perhaps this is just a phase?

So, are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you think you’ll ever go over to the other side? What are the benefits and disadvantages of your preferred novel-writing method?
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground