I was asked months ago to write about the difference between Pantsing and Plotting, which are considered the two schools of author prep. The truth is that most people are a combination of the two with more of one than the other. I’m definitely much more of a Plotter, but I leave an opening for spontaneous ideas and change plans if something comes up when writing. So, how can I give a fresh take on this topic?
Tease both sides with exaggerations? Sure. It’s nearing the end of 2019, so let’s try to get some laughs.
- You know you’re a Plotter when you have more notebooks than articles of clothing. Only one of them has been filled, but damned if you know where you put that after you cleaned your area ten years ago. One of these days, you’re going to organize the plans and figure out what you’re doing. Just as soon as you finish another outline.
- You know you’re a Pantser when you put more time and effort into getting comfortable than planning your story. Thirty minutes to get coffee, spray air freshener on your comfy pants, cook a snack, go to the bathroom, and make sure the DVR is set to tape that show your friends told you about. Wait, what if the DVR doesn’t work? You can’t wait for it to be on streaming . . . The idea will still be there tomorrow.
- You know you’re a Plotter when you scream and yell at your characters for ruining your outline. You can’t even find paper to tear in rage since everything has notes that might be important.
- You know you’re a Pantser when your story goes off the rails and it’s the first time you notice there were rails to begin with. First reaction is to point at empty air next to you and say ‘my protagonist’ did it. This is done whether someone is there or not.
- You know you’re a Plotter when you’re asked about your story and you go into extreme detail. Not only of the story, but the connected tales, your inspiration, and the type of pencil you used to write your character names. Most people will leave before you finish, but a few will make it to the end because they became too old to hear what you’re saying anyway.
- You know you’re a Pantser when you’re asked about your story and you shrug. When pressed for information, you get the genre right and utter a few plot points. Only one of those is from your own story while the rest is what you remember from that show you DVR’d. Oh crap, is this the friend who suggested it? Just smile and nod until they ask how your ‘real’ job is going. Then break into tears and run away shouting that they never had faith in you.
You know what? I’m open to seeing if anyone can come up with others. Have fun with it and try not to be too mean. Enjoy.