Sunday, May 13, 2007


It’s what all of us do. We do this is in so many parts of our everyday lives. From going to the grocery store, shopping, picking out what we’ll wear to work, and even the library. Either you have a plan, a plot, for what you intend to buy, (the list), which is another blog all together) or you just head out and go. You’ll buy or not buy as the mood strikes you. Maybe you decide the night before what you’ll wear to work the next day. If you’re like me you gave that thought up along time ago. If I pick it the night before I change my mind the next morning. So, now I just wait till I get up and decide. Still it’s one type of plotting.

Writing is no different. Before I can write the story I have to plot it out. But what kind of plotter am I? Do I plot the entire book from beginning to end? Or do I just sit down and go to it. Writing whatever comes to mind.

The first way is called (you guessed it) “The Plotter” and the second is called “The Pantser”.

Before I go any further I want to tell you where you can find some great information and help on this. One of the best is Julie Leto who is doing a blog on this at Plotmonkeys. She is doing this in a series on Saturdays. This past Saturday was part 3 but you can go back and read them all. I highly recommend this regardless of which type of plotter you are or think you are.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that it really depends on the book I’m writing as to which type of plotter I am. However, with that said I also have learned that plotting helps me to keep my story line going in the right direction. To keep the conflicts both with my H/H and my secondary characters weaved together.

The storyboard that you will see on Plotmonkeys is an amazing thing. You can step back and see where you have to much of something or not enough of something.

I found the easiest way for me is to start labeling scenes that I want to be in my book. They can be as simple as “The First Kiss” all the way down to my “Black Moment”. I place them on the board with sticky notes that I can move around with ease.

Of course that doesn’t mean that your muse will change your storyboard. More often than not she will. Now you have a roadmap. Somewhere to direct you when you are staring at the computer screen and your fingers are moving. Yep, you know what I’m talking about, the dreaded writer’s block. For me I’ve found that with the sticky notes I can start writing a different scene. It doesn’t have to be the one that goes next, in sequence order.

What I’ve found is that I am both a “Plotter and a Pantser”. I need the roadmap but I need to be able to sit down and write whatever. This new-found way has helped me to do both.

What about you? Do you plot the book from page one to “The End”. Do you sit down and write whatever comes to mind? Do you write scenes and then go back and put them in the order you want them?

Oh, and a big shout out to Erica Ridley for helping with the html stuff. Your the best!!!

Writing Wishes and Plotting Dreams,


ERiCA said...

You're welcome, darlin'! (And glad to see it worked!!)

I'm a plot-pantser, if there is such a thing. I don't plot out the entire book, but I at least know the black moment and the first turning point before I start writing. Oddly, my turning points usually change before I get there, but my black moments almost always stay the same as initially envisioned.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Vicki, I think I'm kinda like you too. I plot in my head, put together a bare bones outline, then I have the freedom to write whatever comes out.

Like Erica said, a "Plot-Pantser".

Vicki said...

Yep, that's me. I think it's more of the fact that I don't want to feel boxed in to any one way of doing something.

Glad you both stopped by and congrats again Vicki (Taylor) for your final in the 2007 Golden Acorn Excellence In Writing Contest. :)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I'm a total pantser, but I think I really need to start plotting. I end up doing so much rewriting because I don't know where the book is going until I get there, that you'd think I'd have it figured out by now. But I'm stubborn. And I like to get started. :)

Thanks for the link!

JulieLeto said...

Erica, you plot with your pants on. :-) That's my new term. I'm the same way. I use what I can of both techniques.

Thanks for the shout-out, Vicki!

Suzanne said...

I plot, sorta, but I always consider myself a pantser. I use my blurb to get started, then write the proposal, then come back and plot. Half and half plotting and pantsing, I guess. I can't plot first--ruins the fun for me.

Vicki said...

Welcome Alyssa and Suzanne. I'm so glad you stopped by.

I think we've all become plotter/pantser with all the things we have going on in our lives it sort of leads us to this. :)

Suzanne I love the way you start with your blurb.

Alyssa I was too but Julie has helped with her plotting/pantser blog (and workshop).

Vicki said...

Hi Julie - means so much to that you stopped by.

You're plotting and pantser ways are amazing and have helped me quite a bit.