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!
Camp NaNoWriMo is slowly approaching. Hopefully you know what you’re going to write at this point. If not… then I think you need to go get some writing done.
If you do, then that’s great! So what should you do next? You have two options:
1. You can outline your novel.
2. You can twiddle your thumbs until April arrives.
Everyone should know by now that I love outlines and I plan my novels all the time. However, not everyone works that way. Some people are planners and others are pantsers–the people who twiddle their thumbs until April and then free-write the moment NaNo begins.
Do you like following a plan? Do you like mapping out your world? Setting the scenes? Explaining small details about the characters? Then you should probably outline your novel.
Would you rather make things up as you go along? Do you want to get to know your characters as you write the novel? Then you should probably wait for April.
Everyone works differently. Everyone writes differently. Aside from getting that first draft finally done, I think that’s one of the major points of NaNo: figuring out your way of writing.
Even though the Authors Anonymous movie I discussed in my last post wasn’t my cup of tea, it still inspired me. You know how when you hear about someone getting published or you see a movie about writing or you just read a book, you tend to get into an overdrive to write?
Well, remember I had that idea called The Writer’s Group? It was about three unpublished authors getting together after meeting on a writer’s group website and together they go through all the stages of writing. I never finished it; I don’t think I got very far with it. I tried different variations of the story and nothing ever really sparked. I do hope to write it someday, but it won’t be anytime soon.
With that being said, I think I decided what to write for NaNoWriMo next month. I know I said I was going to finish Far Away, but I think I’m in the mood to write something completely new.
Kris told me I should be a pantser this year because I’m always stressing myself out with outlines and such. Starting a brand new idea I know nothing about will help with that. I have the two main character names and the basic gist of the plot down, but that’s about it. Before the start of NaNo, there are a few more things I want to figure out, but I’m not going to outline. I want to have at least a decent summary to post by November first, anyway.
The two main characters are college students who meet in their creative writing class, but neither one of them have plans to be a writer. That’s all I have so far… I don’t even have a title (despite what my NaNo profile says). I noticed that whenever I lose motivation to write, I end up writing about writing. Ironic, huh?
So there you have it. After going back and forth so much, I finally decided on a project. Here’s to hoping for another win.