Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Plotster vs Pantster

I know many authors, and usually, you can divide them into two camps. The plotsters and the pantsters. For those who are not familiar, I shall humor you.

Plotsters: Authors who like to be in control; authors who must plan their book out from beginning to end because they would either A.) go mad by not knowing what happens, B.) are insane control freaks, or C.) the kind of authors who can sell a book on proposal alone.

Pantsters: Authors who fly by the seat of their pants, meaning they either A.) start with a general idea and run with it, B.) are one of those people who wake up one day and think, "Hmm, can I really write a book?" or C.) just like to "discover" the plot of the book along with the rest of the readers.

You might think these are the only two camps. But there's an elusive third, folks. A whispered "nether-camp", if you will, of authors. This is where I'm lumped.

The Tweeners.

The Tweeners are (you guessed it) the "middle of the road" authors, the ones who are stuck in limbo between plotting and... pants..ing (??). The ones who write a detailed synopsis, then decide to "change the whole damn thing" halfway in. The ones who "sometimes" thoroughly plot whilst other times, they write where the wind doth take them. The ones who start out with a basic idea and basic plot points, but it's anyone's guess how the characters will get from A to B to C.

I'm pretty sure a lot, if not most, authors nowadays are actually "Tweeners". I have acknowledged and embraced my tweens. My first few books were brainstormed on the spot. If I had a problem, I'd solve it, and sometimes, that problem could take weeks to solve.

I am a firm believer that writer's block comes because you are "pantsing" the story. However, I have also been stuck in a book when I knew where I wanted to go but just couldn't pull the dang scene from my brain if I wanted to. **cough**NATURE OF THE B*E*A*S*T**cough**

Sorry. Something in my throat.

So perhaps the whole concept of "writer's block" can happen to us all.

I don't really have a point with this blog post other than to ask what kind of writer are you? Are you a control freak who must have all drama plotted out ahead of time? Do you go with the flow? Or are you somewhere in between? What kind of writer are you?



Taryn Raye said...

I'm a tweener myself. I tend to start with the general idea, a few plot points that I have in mind, but once I sit down, I try to start listening to my characters, especially the more I get to know them, because eventually they come out and stand behind me and whisper over my shoulder and tell me what direction their story is supposed to go. Sometimes they surprise the heck out of me with twists to the story I never saw coming. That's when I feel like I'm writing at my best, when I want to scream, "What just happened?!?!" or start crying when I never intended to.

I like to think of myself as Mrs. Muir and my characters as Captain Daniel Gregg- They tell me their story and I write it for them. It's almost like being a "ghostwriter." LOL

So most the time I start off with the general idea/plot points and then, as Kate Austin of The Witchy Chicks calls it- I "fogwalk" and let the story take me where it wants to go. (Fogwalking sounds better to me than Pantsing.)

Donica Covey said...

Great topic Becka. I too am a tweener but I lean more toward pantster. I have ideas--flashes of brilliance, if I may--that show me the hcaracter, the story line and when I get to writing somethign jumps up and says hold it. Wait a minute. He wouldn't do that! She wouldn't stand for him saying that.

So I guess I'm like Taryn. I fogwalk instead of having a beacon shining light of plot.


Ciara Gold said...

I'm pretty much a pantser. Every once in while, I'll plot the coming two chapters, but rarely does this happen. I do, however, outline as I go, so I can remember what I've done in past chapters and this helps me figure out where I'm going as I go.

I'd be very bored is I knew ahead of time what happened in the book I was writing. I like when the characters surprise me as much as I hope they surprise the reader.