Plot Happens

Word of Caution: Be careful when Googling "pantsing". Some things can't be unseen.

Word of Caution: Be careful when Googling “pantsing”. Some things can’t be unseen.

If you believe the statement in the title, more than likely you’re a pantser. By pantser I mean that you generally write and write and write until the story eventually comes together or your word count exceeds anything a decent agent or publisher will even look at. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. A few of my favorite authors write that way. **cough- Patrick Rothfus, George R. R. Martin -cough**

I imagine writers like this happily type away until that fateful day when PLOT lands on their screen. Sweet! Glad you made it! Now let’s wrap this thing up.

And I’m sure on the opposite side of the fence, a plotter must have the plot devised before a single finger can touch the keyboard. It sounds almost torturous, depriving oneself of writing like that.

Where do I fall?

Depends on the project. If NaNoWriMo or the 3-Day Novel Contest are in my sights, I’m a total plotter. Of course that is by necessity. Neither contest allows writing before their respective start dates, but outlines are kosher and recommended. Pantsing only happens when I’m writing for fun. Which brings me to my typical writing style.

The spark first ignites with any number of things. Mood, character, setting, idea, a cool gadget, or painfully embarrassing moments are all things I might pull from. Then bring on the pantsing.

I’ll concoct a scene or a simple character sketch. I write and write and write until one of two things happens. One, I get bored. In the event of this, the document gets saved, and I move on. Or two, I get hit with a goose flesh-inducing ending. At which point I start taking notes on what it is. Then I try to come up with certain points to reach that brilliant ending. Let’s say two or three crossroads or intersections. I guess you could say this is where plot happens to me.

I’ll switch gears one more time and pants my way from point to point.

I made it sound more simplistic than it feels. I skipped over much of the frustration, yelling at the screen, and shameless pleading with whatever muse will listen.

My point, if you could honestly extrapolate one, would be this: Don’t worry how you get the story done. Just write it. You’ll have plenty of time afterword to pontificate on how you got it that way.

So where do you fall on this pantser/plotter concept? Or does it even matter to you? Let me know. I’m always looking for a better way.