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  • Debra Leigh

Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser

As a author, the question I've been asked most by other writers is "Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?"

For anyone unaware of this phenomenon, a Plotter is someone who plans their stories out, while a Pantser just flies by the seat of their pants. << See what they did there?

I, however, don't like "this or that" categories; I need options!

So if you're like me, continue on to see which writing style fits you best!

Chaotic Pantser - What the hell is a plot?

  • Writes completely out of order and later struggles to connect scenes

  • Finishes the side fiction before the main story

  • Writes whatever they're excited about at the time

  • Rarely completes a manuscript

Neutral Pantser - Even I'm not sure what's going to happen!

  • Writes things as they come to them

  • Suffers from writers block 80% of their life

  • Not afraid to bounce around chapters, when they're stuck

  • Doesn't know the ending before it's written, because that's boring

Lawful Pantser - Dark and twisted roads lie ahead...

  • Writes everything in order

  • Ends up in strange places as the story develops

  • Spends hours researching a topic, but uses none of it

  • Knows random details that no one cares about

Chaotic Plantser - What was that amazing idea I had again?

  • Has an idea of the plot when they start

  • Never writes things down, because surely they will remember

  • Can't remember anything

  • Writes out of order and assembles scenes into a frankendraft

Neutral Plantser - Not how I pictured it, but it's fine, this is better.

  • Creates a brief outline before starting

  • Inevitably goes off script and ends up in unexpected places

  • Doesn't mind this because this is more interesting anyways

  • Promises to outline better next time, but never does

Lawful Plantser - Yeah, my MC is definitely an INFJ.

  • Knows the major plot points and uses the flashlight method to get to the end

  • Builds world maps and timelines as they go

  • Uses character bios; sometimes written, sometimes found online

  • Has definitely taken personality tests for their characters

Chaotic Plotter - I can't summarize it in three sentences, it's too complex.

  • Definitely has a wall dedicated to notes, photos, and maps connected with strings

  • Writes scenes on little cards and tries to organize them on a board

  • Places scenes out of order, but doesn't notice until final edits

  • Copy and paste is life

Neutral Plotter - You wont find a plot hole, I double dog dare you to try.

  • Writes an outline containing important plot points and the ending

  • Modifies and updates outline as the story progresses

  • Spends hours upon hours researching topics, even when it's not necessary

  • Starts writing character bios, but never finishes them

Lawful Plotter - It'll release in a year or two, I haven't even started the writing process.

  • Writes thoroughly detailed character bios

  • Organizes multi-page outline by scene, chapter, and sub-chapter

  • Plans for the story long before they begin writing it

  • Probably knows what color socks the MC wears on Tuesdays

Hopefully you laughed a little, while reading through these and thought to yourself, "Yep, that's me."

I consider myself a Lawful Plantser. I know where I want the story to go, I just don't always know how I'm getting there. An intense knowledge of my characters, however, seems to always guide me in the right direction.

Leave a comment and let me know which writing style you connect with most!

Lots of love and good luck to all my fellow indies out there!

Debra Leigh xo


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