Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not Writing--Planning (Or Is That Writing?)

Why do I find it so hard to write without a plan? I read about so many who are "pantsers," who write with abandon, with little idea of where their story will go, who will be involved in its development, even where it will be set. They just pick up and start writing.

I. Can't. Do. That.

I can't. I've tried. Sure, I can get words down on paper, but I'll spend pages and pages going nowhere (or heading in the wrong direction), and I'll waste all kinds of time writing blather that will only be deleted in entirety when I revise. Heck, even when I outline I end up writing a bunch of stuff that disappears as I edit... it only gets worse when I try to head off without a plan.

So I spent two days "planning" my short story about chocolate. TWO days! It's just like when I paint--I take twice as much time to sketch out what I'm going to paint as I do painting it.

What about you? Is your magic in your planning, or do you have the ability to sort things as you go, letting the characters act as they will and recording their progress with no idea where it will end up?

While I await your answers, I'm off to finish my story--or revise my outline. I know, it's pretty pathetic. But it's what I do, and it works for me (mostly), so I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. The inspiratin has to be there first and foremost, but if it is- I will always write out a plan before I dig into the actual writing part.

  2. I'm exactly the same way. Definitely a plotter rather than a pantster. That's not to say I haven't written by the seat of my pants before. I actually wrote the first chapter of my newest WIP that way. And it was a lot of fun and it loosened me up and got my creative juices flowing. BUT, I can't continue without a rock solid outline.

    For my first book, I outlined the entire thing. It was so easy to write the novel that way. it took only about a month to outline, then another 2 to write an 85,00 word novel.

    Some of us work that way and some of us don't. But that doesn't mean you can't do it the other way every once in a while.

  3. You know I'm a pantser.

    The down side, of course, is I can only write when my story is ready to come out.

    And I often don't get to decide what I'm writing.

  4. Gotta do what works for you.

    I used to be a panster through and through. Then I pre-outlined a novel (very rough, mostly in my head & jots in a notebook) and it was by far the smoothest to write and the best in terms of story structure, balance and pacing.

    I'm sold on planning!