Pants vs. Plot – I’m a Gardener

Two Toilets - WTF?

So, if you write you might be a pantser… you have a starting point and you go in, write like crazy, and come up with something. Maybe you’re a plotter. You develop detailed story maps, scene outlines, etc.

Or maybe you aren’t either. Maybe your process is somewhere in the middle. I know mine is.

I develop a very, very loose outline of my story, but I usually know the ending on day 1. In fact, I often write the ending first. Not always, but the majority of my WIP I at least know what the ending will be.

Then I develop my characters in depth. Usually, this doesn’t change my ending, because I already had an intuitive sense of them. For major characters, I develop their childhood hobbies, favourite colour, favourite breakfast, etc. For minor characters, I might develop less (I might even develop nothing but their name and general appearance if they are a throwaway – guard number 6 for example).

I usually have a scratchpad where ideas that don’t fit into the point of the narrative I’m working on can get thrown. I don’t want to develop the chapter but I have a very vivid sequence that might fit elsewhere. Sometimes I use these, sometimes I don’t. Either way, they are ideas that stick in my head.

I also have a very loose timeline. This event happens, that event happens, that event happens. It might only be a few major events in the story, beats that I have to hit to be satisfied that the story is going where I want it, reflecting the themes I want to reflect. Then I start writing. I sit down and pound out words.

I don’t do a lot of story edits, just very minor ones. Maybe I should do more, but I believe that often the best stories come out of our unconscious.

So there you go, neither pantser nor plotter, but something in the middle.

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