Plotter or Panster?

I’ve had discussions with writer friends of mine on this very subject. Do I, as a writer, plan out the main points, outlining the particulars before I set about writing the book? Or am I a pantster, inventing on the fly and letting my creative side go wild? I’m a plotter because I cannot really understand how to make the other method work. It’s not that I love outlining (I don’t) or that I am not prone to changing things at the drop of the proverbial hat (I do) it’s that my publisher and every other publisher I’ve worked for wants to know what the book is going to be about before they decide whether or not to buy it. It’s just good business, right? Would you buy a bunch of pies to sell in your restaurants all across America without knowing what’s inside? (If you have a last name of Roberts, or Rowling or King, you can do this. Mentink doesn’t quite inspire the same level of trust from publishers.) As mentioned in prior posts, I sell on proposal which is a synopsis and chapters. Yes, I have the ability to change the synopsis down the road and connect the dots any way I would like, but for me it’s important to deliver the themes, characters and general plot that I promised when they bought the thing.

Are there any pantsters out there? If so, I am wondering how that process works? Do share! Giving away an iTunes gift card in the April drawing.
Dana Mentink 49

One response to this post.

  1. On a short piece of writing, I can have a great opening line or idea and then let myself go – sort of see what comes out. On a longer piece of writing I am like you, Dana. I plan where the story and the characters are going to end up. Now, as you’ve said, that isn’t to say things don’t change – sometimes to a degree that surprises me. I tend to be long winded and I think without some plan things would get totally out of hand.



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