If you’re a writer, you know the terms “planner” and “pantser.” Other writers will ask you which one you are.
There are no sides, neither one of them is the “right” way to write a novel or the “wrong” way to write a novel.
Our brains and minds all work differently and we work at our own pace and rhythm. If you have great ideas and have to follow a basic outline to stick with said ideas, then go for it. If you have an awesome idea and want to see where the word flow takes you, go for it.
However, there are pros and cons to each side.
What is a planner?
A planner is someone who figures out most (or every) details of their novel. They outline, they plot, they character develop long before the character is created on the page, they draw maps, and do so much more. They are the definition of prepared, especially when NaNoWriMo comes along.
Pros of being a planner
- Writer’s block doesn’t hit them that hard, if at all, since they already know what is going to happen next.
- There’s always room for improvement. An outline isn’t set in stone, it’s a guideline. If something needs to change or new ideas pop up, the writer can add and delete.
Cons of being a planner
- It’s a lot of work. Not to sound lazy, but creating an outline takes a lot of time, effort, and brainpower before the actual writing even begins.
What is a pantser?
A pantser “flies by the seat of their pants.” They don’t go in with any sort of plan (or something even an idea). They just go with the flow and see what happens next.
Pros of being a pantser
- Flexibility. Since they have no outline, they can do whatever they want to their characters and create twists and turns. There are no limits.
- They can dive right in. Do you want to write a story right now? Go right ahead. No ideas? That’s okay, just write whatever comes into your mind.
Cons of being a pantser
- They may get writer’s block and that can put their story on hold for a long time.
Of course, take these pros and cons with a grain of salt. Like I said, there is no right or wrong side. There is no right or wrong way to write a novel.
As long as you have an active imagination, that’s all that matters.
Are you a planner or pantser? Let me know in the comments below!