Writing Up Wednesday #2: Plotter or Pantser?

February 1, 2017 Books/Writing 6

Welcome to the second week of Writing Up Wednesday! Besides the writing I do for my blog, I’ve also started writing fiction again this year. NaNoWriMo 2016 really kicked me into gear and got me excited about writing again. It’s an excitement that I hope will last, and there’s no better way than to keep motivation up than to share it! I know a lot of my blogger friends also have writing goals outside of their blogs. Week to week I want to discuss various different topics related to writing, and I’ll put a link-up at the bottom of each topic post. This week we have:

Writing Up Wednesday #2: Plotter or Pantser?

If you’re not familiar with the terms, check out this article from the folks at NaNoWriMo. Basically, most authors fall into one of these two categories – do you plot and plan everything out, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? As a note of interest, GoodReads put together this little list of famous authors with notes of which camp they claim. Surprised by any of them?

My experience in NaNo 2016 has taught me one very solid lesson: I am most definitely a plotter. I discovered the 8-Point Story Arc right before NaNo and it really jumpstarted my novel. I’m absolutely in love with it – it enabled me to get my ENTIRE story down quickly. Yes, I say entire, because every major turning point of the story is included in those 8 points. The 8-Point Story Arc comes from Stephen May’s book Write a Novel and Get It Published – which I proceeded to immediately buy and not read. Ahem. I fully intend to, of course, I just haven’t got to it yet!

Besides the 8-Point Story Arc, I read several forum and blog posts about free-plotting – basically an info dump of a plot outline that no one but you will ever see. You can plot each scene, each chapter, whatever works for you. I ended up just plotting each movement, as I think of it. Each thing that needed to happen to advance the story along. So far in my writing, I’ve discovered that each chapter usually contains 5 or 6 of these points. Some people break the chapters up as they go. I didn’t. I just vomited words all over my page and it was AMAZING. I finally had ALL THOSE IDEAS out. Of course they need fleshed out and smoothed and sculpted, but the best part is THEY ARE OUT and I have them all written down so I can go back to them! My entire NaNoWriMo 2016 was spent outlining this way, and the outline alone ended up being just over 11,000 words.

These two outlines have made the actual writing of my novel so much easier. I would never have thought I needed an outline so badly, but for me it just works.

Which one are you? Be sure to leave your link-up below!