Thursday, November 12, 2009

Plotting or Pantsing?

First of all, I completely slacked on my writing goal on Tuesday. If you're unaware of what goal I'm referring to, check out my November Writing Plan blog post. That explains it. 300 of my 1000 words - that was all I did, and I almost gave in and did the same yesterday but I pushed through and actually managed 1025. Luckily I was a good bit ahead overall, but Tuesday used up most of my lead. Now I can't get sloppy again. Honestly though, I'm simply happy that I've persevered this long, even in the face of many distractions. Yay me!

Now onto the topic that I've been considering while writing today: pantsing or plotting when writing. I've mentioned that I'm a pantser right now. I plot maybe a day ahead of where I'm writing for the most part. I might have ideas for the end of the story or certain events later, but the meat of the story just comes to life in my head a few hours prior to its arrival on the keyboard. This has worked for me so far, but I want a system to make the math/science/logic/engineer part of my brain happy.

Today while writing, I moved past what I'd plotted out in my head the night before and just started writing on the fly, and I was amazed at how much that bothered me. I felt like I was typing around pits of quicksand, and any moment I was going to take a misstep. It really messed with me. And it made me start analyzing what I do and don't like about pantsing and plotting respectively.

Where do you guys stand? What are your writing habits and what do you like about what you do? What do you wish you could do differently or more consistently?

I'll evaluate my own techniques some more in the next couple of days after you guys get a chance to tell your story here. Maybe we can help each other out by letting others know what works for us.


  1. I'm big on plotting. I don't go over board and spend most of my time on this as opposed to writing, but I like to know my back ground so that I get a good consistancy throughout the story.
    Usually I have most of the story plotted in my head before I even start. I know my major points that I need to reach, but sometimes you still get stuck on how to get there. I can't just sit and let the words flow without any direction though. I feel I'm just wandering aimlessly with no destination and I don't like that. I like to know where I'm taking my characters as opposed to where they're taking me.

    Does that make sense? lol...

  2. You're making perfect sense. That's similar to what I do except that I do the plotting and planning on a day to day basis as opposed to having it all (or most of it) figured out beforehand. Like I said though, I am trying to move away from that. :)