Planner or Pantser? That is the question.
When I arrived at the NaNo style camp site I declared to the world that I am a Planner not a Pantser. It is true. I plan and without putting in that work before I start a project, I wouldn’t be able to write anything.
A good few years ago, I read “On Writing” by Stephen King and admired that he could start writing with the smallest idea. I find the concept of writing a novel without knowing where it’s going completely daunting. I tried it once, about ten years ago. I had a basic idea and started writing. I made it to about page thirty and stopped.
I didn’t have any direction. Granted writing a novel about a squirrel secret agent was a stretch, but still. (And before you ask that WASN’T really the idea, though it does have promise)
That day I swore, never again would I attempt to write a novel without any planning.
Whilst I was studying creative writing with the OU, I wrote a number of short stories, flash fiction and a couple of longer pieces. I planned every one of them. Some more than others. I might have a rough theme or character idea and go with it, but the work was in the planning.
My Camp NaNo work, which now has a working title: A Scream in the Woods, has a plan. Using the corkboard on Scrivener, I have mapped out a rough 30 chapters guide and have already planned half of the chapters. Key for me to begin a new project is writing a brief outline for the first six and hopefully the last three.
I will deviate from the plan if necessary, but knowing what I want to happen helps me weave the story. I hope to map the remaining chapters before too long so I can concentrate on writing. My trusty notebook will be at the ready as I will question events and write options, scenarios and other ideas as I go along.
For my crime novel I even managed a PowerPoint slide on who the suspects would be and their motives and links to the victims. The more I plan the more I feel comfortable in writing the story. I think that is the key for me. Comfort. Knowing where I’m headed gives me the freedom to do the writing.
I enjoy reading how other writers approach their work. I presume you do too as we all read lots of other blogs about writers. So I decided to ask some other folk how they approach writing a novel. Planner or Pantser? That is the question.
Tomorrow, my first guest will post on my blog. Fanfare, fanfare. Julie from Word Flows will tell us whether she is a Planner or a Pantser. I hope you tune in to read her excellent post on how she approaches writing a Trilogy.
Filed under: Camp Nano, Novel In Progress, Writing | 22 Comments
Tags: Creative writing, Pantser, Scrivener, Stephen King, Writers Resources, Writing