Plotters and Pantsers

One of the questions I get most often as a writer is “Are you a plotter or a pantser?” I was actually thinking about answering this in my recent Q&A, but I realized that this question begs an explanation. So for those of you who haven’t heard of these terms, here’s a quick explanation.

Plotters: Plotters are, as the name implies, writers who extensively plot out their stories. They plan nearly every detail before they begin writing and stick to it. They can change their plan, but try their best to get it right the first time so they don’t have to rework the plot later.

Pantsers: The word pantsers comes from way some writers have been described as writing by the seat of their pants. They don’t plan extensively; in fact, some don’t even know how the story will end, or even what is going to happen. They just start writing and let their characters dictate the story.

Most writers aren’t either extreme. They tend to write with a mix of plotting and pantsing. I personally tend to lean a little more toward plotting, but I try to keep it to the major events. I like to leave the smaller details to develop on their own. That way, I’m able discover new things while writing, but I also have a goal to push toward when I get stuck somewhere.

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