A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Know Why I'm A Pantster

A fellow blogger had something to say that really resonated with me (thanks Windy).  She was talking about how plotting and planning isn't as fun for us pantsters because it's only through our slightly disorganized process that we get to discover the story.  I have to agree with this sentiment.

My favorite moments are when my characters surprise me, doing something even I didn't anticipate.  Though I'm the one writing the story, the tale is actually unfolding on its own, using my mind and fingers as a portal to the page.

Thinking about this concept more, I realize that I get bored easily if a storyline is too obvious.  If I can tell where you're going with things, there is no surprise and I'm more apt to skim than really read.  In fact, the most memorable stories are those that completely surprised me throughout (Deathday Letter, I'm looking at you).

This is why I'm a pantster.  I let fate have it's way and laugh crazily throughout the ride.  And though it means more work during the editing process, I wouldn't have it any other way.

If you're a pantster, why do you choose this path?  If you're not, why not?


mooderino said...

You're approach is perfectly fine, but the way yu categorise plotters isn't very acvcurate. Characters can surprise and inform you just as much if you've outlined the story. That sort of rigid, completely planned out story isn't something many people work with, and even those who do, how do you think they come up with their outline? (they have to pants it).

The point is plotting gives you a framework within which the charaters have to operate, but they still have to decide what to do.

Pantsing is fine if it works for you, but plotting is equally creative if you approach it in the right way.


Eric said...

I understand what you're saying. I guess for me personally, the idea of plotting just puts my mind in a constrictive box of my own making. If I just let loose though, I feel more creative; whether I really am or not is probably subject to interpretation.

Tere Kirkland said...

I often pants my way from plotted scene to plotted scene, and sometimes I changes my plans based on what I just "pantsed".

So I like to discover new things about my characters that I hadn't anticipated, but if I don't write out a proposed story-line, it's too easy for me to veer off tack. I need an outline to keep the action moving forward.

But some of my most interesting plot changes have occurred because of something I "discovered" while I was pantsing.

Great post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have to use an outline and plan the major points out in advance. If I don't, I get lost or I forget where I'm going. What bores you keeps me from growing frustrated. Or wandering off in a daze!

Eric said...

Tere - That sounds like an interesting way to do things. I don't know if it'd work for me, but it's worth exploring. Thanks :)

Alex - Heh heh, and that's one of the aspects that makes being a part of the writing community so much fun - seeing how each of us get to the same finish line.

Glynis said...

I have tried planning and it just doesn't work for me! I get the character, then they find friends/enemies and the plot follows.

So long as I get to The End, I really don't mind.

Glynis Smy (writer)