Thursday, 24 March 2011

Plotting vs Pantsing

I’ve always been a pantser,  typing away and never knowing where the plot was going, often ending up dead ends which need heavy editing to get back to the main storyline.  I’ve been using this method on my current project and have been up so many blind alleys it’s driven me mad.  So after a lot of research I’m going to have a go at plotting it all out first.  It’s not going to be hard and fast, there’ll be room to alter things as I go BUT I think I’ll get along with writing the novel a great deal faster if I have a good idea of what’s going where.
I read some advice on the net which suggests writing down the main elements of each scene/chapter on separate pieces of paper.  You then lay them all out on the floor and move them around/group them together until they look right.  What a great idea … no guessing what I’ll be doing this weekend J


Alison Runham said...

Hi Sandra
There's some excellent ideas for different ways of plotting/planning in JWJ's Wannabe A Writer? and Louise jorfan's 'A Novel In a Year' has some good ways to generate material to fill in the gaps.
You aked about my writing :-) I write short stories but do have novels on the go as well. At the moment it's a YA/crossover sci-fi/fantasy novel.I have written non-fiction and supposedly I'm meant to have a regular local history slot in a small magazine, but they haven't published the first article yet - it's all a bit complicated, but should really pluck up courage to email and ask what's going on! Ho hum.

Good luck with the plotting. I'm often tempted to go completely 'pantser' but too scared so far!

Alison Runham said...

Eww, terrible typo! Should of course have been Louise Jordan. Apologies :-)

sandra said...

Hi Alison, thanks for the info on the plotting, will look into it. Your novel sounds v interesting, how is it going? Have you heard from the magazine????
I'm getting there with the plotting and worked on it last night ... slowly gathering the threads together to make it more coherent rather than a jumble of ideas randomly thrown together :-)

Morgen Bailey said...

Different writers have different methods (even really successful ones). I never believe authors who say they plot and it sticks to it. I plotted the first one and found I soon came up with additional forks off (like a new major character). Had a start only with the second and loved where that went. Only had the characters for the third one and did a 117,540-word first draft chick-lit in a month (good old NaNoWriMo) then had no real plan the fourth one and it ended up being quite dark and therapeutic. So, after all that, the only way is to sit (or lie/stand) and do it. :)