Are you a plotter or a pantser?
This is the question I find a lot when reading other blogs. And also one that I find myself asking over and over again about my writing. Because I really am not sure.
When I write a short story, I never plot the story out. I just write. I have an idea in my head of what I want the story to be about and I let the characters take over. Most of the time when I am finished with the story, I have the plot close to what I imagined and can go into the editing phase without much difficulty. And sometimes the story takes an unexpected turn that I never imagined, yet I find the story is better for it.
Yet, when I have tried this with previous novels I’ve “written,” I’ve never gotten very far. Things take a wrong course and then I lose all interest in the story. Especially when it comes to the middle. I struggle to find a way to fit the beginning and the ending together. And then I get frustrated because I will need to rewrite what I’ve already written to make things fit.
So, when I set out to actually write a novel this time, I made the decision to plot the story out before putting words onto paper. I’ve been using a number of different books to help me along the way and have been doing pretty well.
One advantage I have found with plotting ahead of time is that you find the issues with your story before you have dedicated thousands of words to the story. Just last week, I thought the plot was going pretty well until I realized that the idea I had for my main character at the beginning of the story wasn’t going to work. It just wasn’t plausible enough.
I pulled myself away from the plot for a little and eventually I was able to solve the issue. I had to do some more research to make sure the idea would work, but in the end, I feel the story is going to be stronger now with these changes. I need to rework the plot to make the changes fit, but it won’t be too much of a problem since I can easily change an outline compared to rewriting whole scenes.
I find myself worrying that by plotting out the whole story beforehand I will get bored with the story when it comes times to actually writing it, but I will face that hurdle when I come to it. Maybe I will need to change my method a little, but overall I am finding myself enjoying the whole process of coming up with my story before actually writing it.
How do you typically come up with your plot? I would love to hear about it.
Until next time… Keep Writing