Wednesday, June 8, 2011

RTW: the battle of Plots vs. Pants

i haven't done YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday in awhile. i also haven't blogged about plotting vs. pantsing for awhile, so it works out well that this week's RTW prompt is:

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

i always say, proudly, i am a plotter.
but perhaps i've been lying... to myself.

loosely defined, a plotter is a writer who has an outline with clear points/events in the story planned out ahead of time. a pantser is a writer who just sits down and starts typing, letting the story travel where it may.

i always figured i fell into the first category because i do, indeed, plot story points ahead of time and usually have an ending in mind.

but i don't outline like this:

Chap. 1
- MC meets love interest
- establish MC desire for adventure
Chap. 2
- meteor slams into earth
- MC faced with choice to rescue family or new love
Chap 3
- MC chooses family but is conflicted and sets out on mission to go back for his love... (AHA! Plot!)
Chap 4
- obstacle to finding his love
Chap 5
- more obstacles, subplot, etc.....

instead, i outline like this:

chapter1 - MC meets love on beach, says line about adventure and "y'know, like armageddon" that will come back to bite him. chapter2 - meteor hits earth - fast montage of scenes: grocery store mom, dad at bank, more?, zoom in to MC with girl - where at when meteor hits? park? then what happens? chapter3?4? mid-book scene: sees girl across the street, but blocked by soldiers and can't call out or will be shot on the spot. "her eyes reach mine, but they don't lock. and in an instant i see - they are not hers. instead of warm brown, these eyes are the ice blue of the taken." note - who are the taken? establish early on? chap 4 or 5? decide.

so really? is that an outline? or is that just me pantsing in short-hand?

maybe we can come up with a category for those of us who fall somewhere in between - PLANTSERS?


Sarah said...

Hey, my outline this time around was a series of random paragraphs occurring at different points in the story. Writing the story consisted of connecting the paragraphs. It's still an outline! I'm still a plotter! A plotter, I tell you! (ahem)

Sarah Enni said...

AAAHHHH It's like you ripped a page out of my Moleskine! I can't even stick with the chapter structure long enough, it just devolves into snippets of dialogue and little descriptions that just take over. All sense of structure just fades. *SIGH*

So glad I'm not alone in that :) And will now adopt PLANTSER!

Rachel Bateman said...

I think you are plotting in true pantser form there!

Alison Miller said...

Plantsers! Love it! That's me completely!

Nomes said...

i am EXACTLY the same as you

but you seem to be having far more success with it than me O.o :)

i think i would call it pantsing in short hand :D

Kate said...

Plantster - yes - me too!