Planners Vs. Pantsers (NaNoWriMo Prep Part 5)

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.

NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep: Planners vs. Pantsers

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!

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Write What You Know (NaNoWriMo Prep Part 2)

Some wise person said to write what you know. Some people agree with this, some people don’t.

What about you? Do you agree with that?

Whether you do or not, I’m not going to tell you this:

Write what you know and write what you don’t know.

Easy enough, right?

Write What You Know NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep

Why should I write what I know?

You know a lot more than you think, that’s why.

You can draw in most life experiences into your stories. The best research would be your own memory. Look things up in your journal, if you have one and write in it frequently.

How can I write what I know?

Did you get a flat tire on your way to work the other day? Put your character in your shoes. How does getting that flat tire make your character feel? Is he angry because maybe he just got the car fixed? Is he frustrated or worried because now he’ll be late to work? Or maybe he’s heading out to pick up his date and he’s already nervous enough without the flat tire. Or maybe he feels indifferent because he’s in no rush and it is what it is. He can’t do anything about it other than fix it… Or call someone to come fix it for him.

What did you actually do when you got that flat tire? Is that how your character would act? Which character would be best to put in that situation? Play around with it, the possibilities are endless.

But wouldn’t I just be telling my life story as a memoir with a fictional character?

Yes and no.

If you write what you know, you’re creating a relatable situation for your characters and readers to have in common. Yet, you’re not explaining the true story word for word. You have to embellish a little. Fictionalize the situation.

Fine. But how do I do that?

Play the “What If?” game.

What if your character’s tire got flat because someone poked holes in it? What if some unknown force caused the flat tire? What if the mechanic comes down to help fix the tire and that person ends up being your character’s soul mate?

Maybe your character wants to avoid the situation altogether and goes back in time to avoid it. But then maybe he gets stuck back in time. Or maybe he makes it back without realizing he changed one important detail about his life accidentally.

You can twist and turn your own situation into something book-worthy. Turn your own situation into a plot, or into a bigger situation to help move your plot along.

There are a lot of twists and turns out there. There are a lot of, “should I have,” “could I have,” “would I have,” and “what if?” questions out there.

I mean, tell me there hasn’t been a situation in your life where you thought back on it wondering how you could have done things differently.

So, good advice or bad, you should still write what you know. Because your experience by getting fired at your job could be the beginning of your bestseller.

Of course, it’s always best to write what you don’t know as well. Just to mix things up a bit.

But there will be more on that tomorrow.

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2014

Camp NaNo

 

I have been anticipating this day since the first day of March. I told myself I was going to edit a novel during the month of March and I did! Hunter is in the process of being re-typed as a second draft. So, that’s that.

I wanted to have plenty of time to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. I knew what novel I wanted to write, but I didn’t have it planned out. I literally finished editing Hunter on March 30. Then I spent all day yesterday (March 31) doing homework. I worked until 2:30 then got the majority of this week’s homework done because I wanted the first week of Camp to be a productive one.

Would you like to know something sad, though? I went into work yesterday and they asked me, “Are you available every day this week and next week?” I said yes because I need the money, but of course it would happen during NaNo…not to mention this month I have my cousin’s birthday, my father’s birthday, Easter, planning for my sister’s upcoming wedding, homework, and now work on top of it. But, it’ll be good to practice my time-managing skills.

Anyway, I’m writing Diary of a Killer for Camp. I’m sure most of you know I have a completed novel called Diary of a Lover. No, this is not a sequel. It’s a complete different set of characters in a different setting. The only similarity is the title because they are both written in “diary” format. Each chapter is a new diary entry. Oh, they have psychology in common, as well. Of course, I know nothing of psychology so a lot of research will be required, so…this will be fun.

I didn’t get a chance to plan it so when I started writing after work today all I had was the title and that was it. I didn’t even have the protagonist’s name…I didn’t even know the gender. In case you’re all wondering, it’s a boy! Yay, congratulations! As I wrote the first chapter, I started coming up with ideas for the novel, so I’m hoping everything will work out. I’m also summarizing each chapter as I write them to help keep the plot in line as well as for when I finally edit it. Hopefully that will do some good when I research things, too.

I will post a summary soon…ish. I have to actually write one first. 😉

For all of you doing NaNo, good luck! And I hope you reached above and beyond the word goal (I got 2,002 words today). If you guys are participating, feel free to add me as a buddy on NaNo (Fiery_Sapphire) and also let me know your word count and what you’re writing. I’m very interested! 🙂