WIP Wednesday: Pantsers Have A Point

I have no qualms about sharing my love of the almighty worksheet.

I've gone on and on about my penchant for the neat & orderly stack of questions, prompts and things-that-make-me-go-hmmm about my story.

But every now and then, I like to throw my Muse for a loop. It's funny what having a smaller, less distracting set of notes can do for one's productivity.

I laid out my basic set of scenes; I know the tone and where everything will take place; I know what happens, who makes it happen and who it happens to; and I know a bit about how it will all lead to the final outcome.

For now, I'm satisfied with knowing that and nothing more. And so far, I'm enjoying the freedom.

So, what do you think? Is less more when it comes to planning a story? Is there such a thing as over-planning? How do you combat that tendency (if you have it) to plan until you've completely lost sight of that original story spark that gave you goosebumps?

WIP WednesdayCurrent WIPs

  • flitting between a short and a flash piece this week. I kind of like it. The flitting, I mean.Keeps each story fresh. Let's hope the words are, too
  • List of WIPS: still haven't pared my list down yet. I'm 'fraid!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

17 comments to WIP Wednesday: Pantsers Have A Point

  • MariMiniatt  says:

    I am a pantser. My rough draft could be considered an outline, I suppose. But I find it easier to have a general idea where my story is going, then let the characters and setting show me the rest.

    I find when I plan, the piece sounds like a term paper.

    • Mary  says:

      I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever been one of those writers whose characters go off and do their own thing. Maybe I’m being too controlling with the outlining and I need to give them a little slack.

      Thanks, Mari!

  • Jenny Beans  says:

    I am not much of a planner, at least not traditionally. Usually, I roll out the basic skeleton of my idea through the first draft, and then go back and strengthen it in the second and third draft. I do take notes when I’m working on long fiction, especially if there are a lot of character details to keep track of. It can be a real pain in the butt scrolling back through to find someone’s eye color when you’re in the middle of an inspirational writing session.
    .-= Jenny Beans´s last blog ..If You Don’t Believe It, No One Else Will Either =-.

    • Mary  says:

      That’s true! I find that doing too much outlining kind of stifles my excitement for the idea, but modifying the outlining method I’ve read in a few books helps keep those tidbits at my fingertips, while still allowing the idea to remain fresh.

      Thanks, Jenny!

  • Cate Gardner  says:

    I’m definitely both a pantser and a plotter – depends on the story. Though with novels I do try to outline.

    • Mary  says:

      Same here. I, too, outlined with my novel (that’s a singular ‘novel’ – maybe when I finish it I’ll add a 2nd to my list). I usually do a shorter outline for shorter pieces, but this time I’m kind of winging it to see which suits me better. Have to stay on my toes!

      I’m glad you are able to comment again, Miss Cate! 🙂

      • Cate Gardner  says:

        My computer loves your new theme. It didn’t get on with the old one.

  • Aaron Polson  says:

    I like to plan some–pure “seat of my pants” is terrifying and I find I have to fix waaaaay too much on the other end.
    .-= Aaron Polson´s last blog ..WIP Wednesday: Slow and Steady =-.

    • Mary  says:

      Exactly! I’d rather fix it in the outlining stage.

  • Edward G. Talbot  says:

    I’m definitely a planner. But I don’t feel like I have to have a whole book (or even a whole story if it’s long) mapped out to start. I just need to have a good outline of where the next few thousand words will go. Once I have that, I can write without fear of taking a turn that contradicts something I’ve already done.

    The biggest reason I have an outline is actually to help me keep track of ideas. I might think of something while I’m writing page 30 that I want to have happen on page 100, and I won’t remember it unless it’s a major item. But those little things are often what makes a story good, so I like to jot them down as I think of them, and the outline is the logical thing to do.

    • Mary  says:

      Normally I plan everything (or as much as I can) but I have discovered that just having the major sign-posts has been a lot more freeing.

      And of course, jotting down those magical little tidbits in the outline, like you mentioned, prevents the loss of any brilliant ideas!

  • Nicole  says:

    You know, I’ve tried to doing detailed outlines, but my characters tend to take on a life of their own, so no matter what I plan, it always turns out differently. And that’s not a bad thing. If I let my characters have free reign, it always works out better in the long run. I’m here to tell their story.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..A Big Thanks to the Folks at The Creative Alliance =-.

    • Mary  says:

      That’s a good point, Nicole! It is their story – we’re just here to capture it 🙂

  • Katey  says:

    I think a lot depends on how complicated the story is, for me. Like with the one I’m doing now, if I hadn’t spent a year plotting and making sure everything would come out okay, it’d be a complete disaster. (As opposed to the sort-of disaster it is now.) Worksheets, lists, maps abound!

    But on smaller things, I like to do very basic outlining and just run with it.

    I do love organizing info though. We have discussed our shared love of the awesome.
    .-= Katey´s last blog ..Disorder =-.

    • Mary  says:

      I think every story I write is a sort-of disaster at first 🙂 And yes, we do love the awesome! We would be total library-obsessed research-geek bosom-buddies if we lived closer. For now – virtual ones!

  • vange  says:

    Sadly, my biggest WIP is going on three years old. It was rather a bit ambitious, I’m afraid. If you want to see Acadia’s head explode, mention FofM to him. ahahahahaaa
    .-= vange´s last blog ..Friday ’90s – Joan Osborne – One of Us =-.

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