One of the first things most writers want to know about each other is if you’re a plotter or a pantser. Why do we ask? We’re wondering if there’s a kindred spirit inside you. But what does that mean?

A plotter is someone who plots out their work. Someone who creates a layout or a plan for their work. It could be an outline or a detailed guide, but a plotter is someone who puts a lot of thoughts into what they are going to write before they start writing.

A pantser, on the other hand, is someone who flies by the seat of their pants. Someone who sits down to a blank page and writes, letting the manuscript take them where it wants to go.

Which one is right?

That’s the fun part. There is no right or wrong! It all depends on what works for you. Each side swears by their process. I’ve found many people are actually somewhere in between. It really doesn’t matter which side you fall on. What matters is that you write.

How do you know who you are?

I’m a plotter, but I have pantser tendencies. I like to create an outline of each book. I go through my own process with each book, getting to know my main characters and figuring out what they want and how they plan to go about getting it.

But when I write, I let the story take me where it should go. I know what scenes I want to write. I know where the story will go, but not every detail about it. I love finding surprises in my story, but not so many that the story carries me away and loses me.

If you’re a pantser, you don’t plan out anything in advance. You just sit and write. I’ve done it, and I was fortunate enough that it worked, but it doesn’t always. For me. Some authors swear by it, and I am constantly amazed by them!

Which side you fall on doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter how you write, just that you do. But trust me when I tell you that you’ll save yourself a lot of grief if you know before you start to write what will work best for you.

And yeah, it’s okay to try one way and change to the other!

What appeals to you more – plotting or pantsing?

If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Mary
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