BY JULIA PRESS SIMMONS
Plotting and Pantsing are two different methods of creating a story. Plotters spend time creating the details of their novel or story before they begin to write. Pantsers start with an idea and just go with it, figuring out what happens as they're writing.
There is no right way to write a book, and some authors use a mixture of both methods.
This is me; I am some authors… I start out plotting, but I pants along the way!
Plotting a novel is one of the most challenging but rewarding parts of writing. It's important for me to know the ending before I plan for the beginning. There are three pieces of information that can be helpful when plotting out your novel: backstory, climax, and ending. The backstory sets up the events in the rest of the story, so it should be interesting enough to keep readers reading.
This is the idea driving my plots. Keeping my readers engaged is paramount.
What is the most important aspect of a novel? Is it the unforgettable characters, the engaging plot, or the brilliant dialogue? Quite frankly, all of these components are necessary for a stellar book. Every author needs to develop a strong plot that serves as a backbone for their story. Plotting can be difficult and time-consuming, but there are some methods that help make this task more manageable.
Let's explore the "Hero's Journey"
The hero's journey is an epic tale of a character who often has to confront evil in order to save his or her people from some kind of problem. This happens in many movies and books, such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. In my opinion, there are plenty of people I think can be considered heroes. In my own life, I have seen a lot of people do things that most people would not have the courage to do.
Writing is hard. There are so many decisions to make before you can even start writing. Should this character die? Should I use first-person, third-person, or some hybrid style? Do I want it to be experienced through one character's point of view or through an omniscient narrator? Even with the process of plotting, there are so many tedious details to work out before you can get started. But what if there was a way to simplify everything? Enter "pantsing.
Pantsing is a term used by those who write without knowing what they will say next. Instead of planning the storyline before beginning the novel, the writer simply sits down and writes what comes to mind. These types of writers often enjoy the flow and spontaneity that come with this type of writing because it can eliminate writer's block and allow them to explore all sorts of ideas for scenes and characters that they might not have thought about otherwise.
Plotters and Pantsers can both write a novel in their own way. As a Plotter, I find the process of plotting out my story beforehand to be very rewarding because it makes writing the actual novel much easier. On the other hand, as a Pantser, I enjoy being surprised by what my characters say and do.
Combining these two methods can be a helpful way to propel the story forward and keep the writer from getting stuck.
If you're feeling like your story is getting stale or like it's not going anywhere, try plotting out the next chapter and then let it go. The excitement of coming up with new ideas will often give you a boost of creativity. Likewise, if you're feeling stuck in what direction to take your story in, do some discovery writing and let the pantsing help get your creative juices flowing.