Teachers create lesson plans. Coaches put together plays. You keep careful track of your finances, plan for retirement, your children’s education, emergencies.Not to mention holidays, ’cause no normal person shows up at the airport on a random Tuesday, looks at the available flights and says, “I’ll pick that one.” No matter how much you may want to chuck everything and get the heck out of Dodge.
I love plotters and don’t they make the best villains! I mean it takes an awful lot of malicious forethought to be the proper kind of evil. Think Regina Mills/Evil Queen, the relentlessly plotting Mayor of Storybrook from TV’s Once Upon a Time. Now there’s Queen with a plan. Or not so evil. How about Charlie Eppes from the now defunct TV show Numb3rs? Employing mathematical equations and using statistical analyses is kind of like plotting. I think. I didn’t really understand half of what he said, I just liked to listen to him talk. It certainly takes a great deal of thought. Guaranteed neither of them would plop themselves down in front of a blank computer screen and wing it.
Then again maybe you apply more of a pantsing approach to life. A free spirited come what may type of thinker. Like Kaylee from Joss Wheadon’s Firefly. Remember the one where’s she’s all dressed up in her pink ballgown talking mechanics with all the boys. But not so stereotypically free spirited you wonder how she managed to dress herself that morning or find her way to work. Or Phoebe Buffay from the show Friends.
Phoebe: (On the phone) Hi, it’s Phoebe. Someone needs to take my 9:00, because it’s like, 9:15, and I’m not there.
Definitely pantsers. Not a bad way to go. After all, activity beats non-activity any day of the week.
For me most of life requires a plan. A way to get from point A to point B. How much detail you include is up to you. Especially, if you’re like me and are weird about that kind of stuff. So for the love of Mike, why would I pants my way through writing an entire novel?
“Books choose their authors; the act of creating is not entirely a rational and conscious one.” Benjamin Franklin
I don’t know. I guess I’m still looking for that magic formula for creating that first draft. I guess because writing the first draft is not my favorite part of novel writing. I love revising. Using the computer program, Scrivener, has helped me be more of a plotter without losing that pantsing feeling that seems to stimulate creativity. I’m making progress.
With it’s cork board, recipe cards, and other project management tools it’s a system that works for me, even though I’m only utilizing half it’s potential right now. Hopefully I’ll be taking a class in the fall. See, I have a plan.
There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas of successful writers contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence-an overwhelming determination to succeed. Sophy Burnham
Such is life. Life or writing, are you a pantser or a plotter? Have a favorite character that’s a plotter? Maybe a pantser?