Yesterday, I shared my experience with my “conversion” to plotting. And it turns out I wasn’t alone. As Katie pointed out, it seems like most of us had the same problem:
starting out as a pantster, realizing that writing-by-the-seat-of-our-pants exposes our weak areas, and realizing that plotting is necessary to some degree.
I think that the mystique of the organic story, one that is so perfect and beautiful that it just wrote itself, is one of the big things that convinced a lot of us (or all of us) to become pantsers (and maybe even writers). There’s this romantic notion that “real” writers, “great” writers sit down and pound out a fabulous story, with minimal rewriting and never, no never, no never any planning in advance.
And then we try it—and somehow it doesn’t seem to work. We learn more about plotting, and give that a try—and lo and behold, we have story arcs. We have a non-sagging middle. We have a character changing and growing through the climax and resolution.
Granted, these don’t always automatically fall in line with plotting and planning—but often when we start a story with these things in mind, we are more mindful of them not only in the planning but in the writing, and look for opportunities to help our characters grow and change, to continually challenge them. (Or, as I like to put it, to put the screws to them.)
So, our mission (should you choose to accept it!) for this series is to look at the whys (for the unconvinced) and the hows of plotting. I’d also love to get some guest posts on how individuals put plotting to work for them—so if you’d like to volunteer to give a brief overview of your plotting process, let me know! (And stay tuned for a new free guide on Friday!)
What do you think? How can learning about plotting help you? Do you think you’ll ever go back to pantsing?
Flying fingers by The Hamster Factor