Week 19: Plotter or Pantzer, and why?
Saturday. Six-thirty a.m. I missed the Linky deadline to post my blog link on the Marketing for Romance Writers Blog. I’m on my own here without the #MFRWauthor group, but I’m posting, anyway. Such is life. Therefore, my post for the 52-Week Blog Challenge this week is late.
My grammar checker does not like the word pantzer / pantster / pantser, and it certainly doesn’t like p-l-a-n-t-s-e-r, which is what I am — plotter and pantser. I’m spelling the word in multiple ways in this post. My editor will come through the screen to slap me if she sees this inconsistency. It’s all in fun for this post.
I’ve moved from being a one-hundred percent pantser to around fifty percent plotter. Regardless, I’ll always allow my plantser to do what she does no matter the percentage stated.
To give a short answer, I’ve become both.
- I plot for direction, tentative word count, to keep on track, and to make sure to cover all the basis needed to bring a story to the proper ending–the happily-ever-after, in my case.
- I write by the seat of my pants to give my muse free rein, allow creativity to run free, and to surprise myself with what might come next.
However, for an upcoming book to be published this year, I did something different. It’s a brand-new series, setting, and characters not related to my other series. I had to start from scratch with a new setting and new family. It also begins a new story bible for the series.
For the first book, I had to set it up and make plans for the rest of the books and characters. This takes plotting and planning, but it takes writing by the seat of my pants too. Oh, and I had a certain amount of elements to add because of a collaboration with other authors, which gave me more direction.
What did I do different?
THIS TIME, I laid out a plan using story beats. My plantser does as she/he/they please with the story as long as the story beats are followed and met.
Story beats give me a road map. (I credit author Jeri Gold and her romance beat sheet for this.)
My pantser will always have free rein in a story whether I begin plotting or writing freely. If I don’t have a semi-detailed plan in the beginning when I pantser write, I will have one after starting a book. My goal at first is to start writing Chapter One to get the original idea in story form so I can see it on the screen in words instead of an idea in my head. This chapter one will go through multiple revisions, get moved, or even deleted. Even with using story beats.
To stay within a word count, I think almost one-hundred percent plotting is necessary and makes sense. When my plantser is writing, I aim for a rough word count, but this number isn’t carved in stone. I’m trying to write shorter books, which for me is below the hundred thousand count. A lot of plotters use an outline. I don’t. Plotting out each chapter and scene and sticking to it, doesn’t work for me. My plantser won’t be silenced, and I can’t say I mind. It wouldn’t be fair if I tried.
What about other authors? If you’re interested in knowing if other authors in the group are pantsers or plotters, check out their links at the Marketing for Romance Writers Blog.
If you’re a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt or uncle, or a mom in any capacity, Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Enjoy your weekend.