What Kind of Writer are You?
You've got an awesome idea, you’re excited about cranking out that book, and you're ready to get started! But let’s consider the process first before you dive in, okay? This will actually save you a lot of time and agony in the long run. Trust me on this one.
There are three types of writers—plotters, pantsers, and plantsers. Plotters are writers who carefully plot their stories. Pantsers are writers who write by the seat of their pants. And finally, there are plantsers who combine pantsing and plotting. Let’s take a look at these three methods.
When I first started writing, I was a total pantser, though at the time I didn’t know what that was. All I knew was that I wanted to write and I had a story in my heart and in my head. So I sat and wrote chapter after chapter after chapter. I had no outline and no plan, just the drive to fulfill a passion for writing I’d been carrying in me since I was a little girl. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, until I finally finished with those two little words every writer is so proud of—The End.
Man, was I excited! I thought my book was awesome! Until I figured out it sucked...LOL! I made this discovery when I had a writing coach look at my manuscript. There was so much red ink on my pages after her review I thought there had been a murder. As a result, I had to gut my story and start over. Talk about a waste of time and effort! But it actually wasn’t. I learned so much during my re-write. In the long run, this became an invaluable process because my writing coach taught me how to, you guessed it, plot a novel! And by the way, this process was not easy. Especially when you’re not used to receiving criticism.
With that lesson learned, I tried my hand at being a plotter. I took out my pen and paper and started outlining the book I had written. But then, when I sat at the computer and started on my edits, I discovered I was actually a plantser. I had my plot, I knew who was going to do what and when and where, but I couldn’t totally shake my pantser ways. I found my outline to be an amazing road map, but every now and again my story would take on a life of its own. Sometimes characters speak louder than an outline! And with an outline, that’s actually a good thing.
At the end of my edits, I found that I had written a book to be proud of! While I mostly followed my outline, being a plantser gave my story room to breathe and my characters a chance to soar.
Look out for How to Plot in next month’s post!