Thursday, June 6, 2013

This One's for the Plotters

So I read a lot of writing blogs.
More than I should. What can I say? I love reading other people's opinions on writing. Maybe that's why I like to write about writing.
Something that comes up all the time is the idea of "plotters" versus "pantsers." Here's a quick definition, if you're not familiar:

plotter: Someone who prefers to plot out his/her story before writing it
pantser: Someone who prefers to figure out the plot as s/he writes (s/he "flies by the seat of his/her pants")

Every article I have ever read talks about how it is okay to be a pantser, how that one author is a pantser and so is So-and-So, and she's a NYT Bestselling Author. So pantsing is great.

And I'm sure it is. But what about the plotters? What about the people who's hearts leap for joy when they see a table? I am one of these people. I had a nice, shiny story idea this week, but I couldn't sit down to write a word of it until I had the whole thing in table form, the day on the y-axis, important characters on the x-axis. That way I could know what everyone was doing, and when.

And that's okay.

You can be a great writer, even if you don't feel like you can just sit down and write up something brilliant at the first glimpse of an idea.

So here's to the plotters: pantsing might make us feel anxious; solace might be found in making endless diagrams and maps even though we're only on Chapter 1 in the actual writing; and yes, sometimes we admire the pantsers. But we are writers too. Don't believe me? Check out these handwritten outlines by famous authors, including everyone's idol, J.K. Rowling.

To the writing cave!