Thursday, September 17, 2015

Plotter or Pantser? How does your Muse speak to you?


   There are basically two types of writers. The Plotter and the Pantser. Now while there are those who run wild through the middle and take the best from both worlds, we will focus today on the two different writing styles themselves. Neither group is better off than the other, it is all a matter of which style works best with you. Hopefully every writer will find their stride and find the style, or combination thereof that makes their Muse sit up and take notice.
   For me, I am a Pantser, always have been, Though, with the new series I am currently working on, I am trying to be more of a plotter (its not pretty). So, since I am striving to do more plotting and planning we will start with that group of writers, The Plotters.
      A Plotter knows the story, or at least a basic premise of where that story will lead. They understand the way the story will develop and they can plan out major scenes as well as the ending all before they sit at that blank sheet of paper (literal or on the computer screen) and even write one word.
A Plotter comes in a variety of degrees.
      The soft Plotter, who writes out an outline and begins to write with a fair amount of room to allow the story to change and grow as they go along. Someone who understands who the main characters are and where they need to go, but doesn't always plan for how they will get there.
      The other end of the scale is the fastidious plotter. This writer, one who I could never be, plots out step by step how the book will progress. They write story boards, draw maps and only begin writing when they are confident they will have it the way it will be in the finished product. These writers leave only a small margin for change as they go along.
     There are many different ways to be a Plotter, from the mild to the extreme and everywhere in between. No matter how you do it, from the plots in the head to the plots on paper, if you plan out where your book will go you will fall into the category of Plotter.
      My London series is going to be a long running series the involves many of the same characters, I am trying to plan my next books at least to a small degree so any characters who will be featured in the next books, will get the right kind of notice in the current works. This has proven to be a challenge for me and this is why...I am a Pantser.
    dreamstimefree_106245.jpg A Pantser is much different from a Plotter. I do not plot anything. It is one of my favorite things about being a writer. I get the excitement of watching my characters stories unfold before me as I write and while sometimes I want the story to go one way, I always let it go in the direction it wants to go. It always makes for a better story in the end.
      My writing style works this way. An image or a line, a scene or just a face comes to me (and I never know at this point if it is the beginning, middle or end of the story that I am seeing). It says hey, here I am and you need to tell my story. Then I sit down at the computer, or take my notebook and pencils to a nice secluded lake or mountain top, and look at the blank page. With that start in mind, I wait patiently, and if I am lucky, I do not have to wait long,  for that first line to emerge. Then I just let the story take me away. Usually once that first line is out, the rest seems to flow fairly smooth.
      The way I see it, a Pantser's story belongs not to them, but to the characters. It does not always unfold for me the way I think it will and what I want to happen sometimes does not, but such is the way of life. It is not for me to dictate what will happen when, but just to tell the story as it comes to me.
      A lot of people think I am odd when I say I do not control my stories, but  it makes a better story if I don't, not just for my readers but for me as well. So I willing give control of my stories to my characters and try my best to stay out of the way.
      Pantsers, like Plotters, come in a wide range of degrees as well. On one end of the spectrum is the pantser who does not plot anything. They work only off the words that spill out of them and let the story come as it may.
      The other end of the rainbow is the pantser who after the story has begun begins to see parts of the story that will unfold later. This usually happens when an event in chapter three has to have an effect or solution later. So this pantser will make notes of those things that will happen later to adjust the story as needed to make it work the way is should.
     For both Pantsers and Plotters they work the way that works best for them. There is no right way or wrong way to get the words on paper. Just get them onto the paper. Then the real work begins.