Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Not sure what these are? Well, let’s delve into this a little bit and figure it out!
Do you write everything off the cuff and try to tell your story in the moment, or do you meticulously craft out every detail of a scene to try and hone in on exactly what you are trying to accomplish?
A pantser is someone who writes everything from the seat of their pants, which means they didn’t plan anything out before they started writing. They had their characters and some vague ideas, but they just let the story grab hold of them and wrote everything on a whim.
This is volatile and dangerous and can result in marathon writing sessions that go on for hours, as well as surprises for the author when something unexpected happens. I have, on many occasions, found myself completely shocked when the characters behave differently than originally planned, and end up having to rewrite multiple scenes to handle a new character trait or behavior.
This is someone who takes the time to carefully craft out their story. They know exactly how each scene is going to go and where it will fall in their novel before they start writing.
They never deviate from their script and end up spending a lot of time planning things out. The reward for this is that they usually go into each writing session with a clear goal of what they are trying to accomplish and where everything falls in their story.
This is well suited for someone who likes to be organized and meticulous in their crafting of a novel and usually entails a lot of summary items and skeleton designs of their project before they ever sit down to write their first sentence.
Which one am I?
For me, I like to plan out my stories and create details, but by the time I actually start writing, nothing ever works like I planned. Details change, things I planned out no longer make sense, and I end up writing everything just trying to keep up with the main characters.
There is no ‘right’ way to write a book. Everyone is different, and as long as you stick with it, develop your style, and just enjoy the process, you are doing it right.
Some authors love to write dialogue, and in fact many I have spoken with in the past particularly enjoy writing out all of their dialogue long before adding the other details of a scene.
It is a tricky thing, writing good dialogue, and too often it comes across as stiff or stale. It isn’t easy to bring your characters to life, and the trick is you really have to understand how people speak and build consistent vocabulary.