There are three types of writers. There are the planners, the pantsers, and the plantsers. Every writer in the world falls into one of these three categories. All three of these types have merit. They are just names for the three methods of writing. Each writer has to figure out their method for themselves. It all depends on what works best for that particular writer.
Planners are those writers who make sure they have a detailed outline and don’t deviate from it. They plan every plot point and beat in their stories, whether it’s a multivolume story, or flash fiction. They need the outline. They need to know the details before they can even think of writing a word. They just can’t face a blank page without an outline as backup. So they fill a notebook with outlines and notes. It’s their process. It is neither correct nor wrong. It’s just how they do what they do.
Pantsers get an idea and dive right in. They let the characters do what they want and follow where their story goes. It’s an organic way of writing. It, too, is neither right nor wrong. They revel in the unknown. They let their stories flow from their unconcious without trying to control it. They just scribble whatever comes to mind and don’t worry about outlines. Then they fix any problems with the plot in the revision process. The first draft just grows as it will. They do little preparation and the story never seems to suffer for it.
Plantsers are a mix of the two. They make a high level outline. The outlines aren’t as detailed as those of the planners. They only give a broad idea of the action. Then the writer dives in and writes. If the story adheres to the outline, fine. If not, that’s fine too. They start with a general idea of where they want the story to end and don’t worry about how they get there from the beginning. They do enough outlining to get them started and let the rest come as it will. That’s the kind of writer I am. I like the planning, but I need the freedom of writing by the seat of my pants.
It doesn’t matter what type of writer you are. You will write the way which works best for you. That’s how it should be. There’s nothing to worry about if you don’t plan every little detail of your story. Also, there’s nothing wrong with diving in, either. I like to think my way gives me the best of both types, but that’s just an opinion. It boils down to personal preferences. That’s all there is to it. So are you a planner, a pantser, or a plantser?
I’m starting to think that each writer is predisposed to a certain style. I myself have tried to be an outliner, but can’t seem to abandon my pantsing ways. So yeah, it’s good to understand your own process and accept it. Great post!
Thanks. I’m glad you liked it. I like planning my writing, but I also love it when my characters start running in different directions with me following and telling them to slow down a bit so I can catch up. That’s what makes writing fun.