Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More from the Diary of a Pantster...An Exercise to Find Your Method

My last blog entry really forced me to think about our craft. It truly is a craft, is it not? And as I mentioned last week, we all have our methods. I would say that I'm 98% pantster...only planning future scenes when I'm tying up loose ends...and even then, I don't really plan. I may decide which characters will play a role in my next scene but I have no idea how it will play out until my fingers start typing.

If you're new to the writing game and you're busy learning all you can about our craft and have no idea if you're a planner, a pantster or a mixture of both...get a pen and paper. Write down three columns titled Planner, Pantser, Both. Put a check mark in the appropriate column. Whichever column has the most checks, that's the method you most often choose. The longer you write, the more you will lean to one of the three and find your "zone", the perfect method for you.

Do you brainstorm before writing? If you do, put a check mark in the Planner column.

Do you look for names in a baby book for your characters? If you do, put a check mmark in the Both column. This isn't really planning a plot but it is taking the time to research for a name..so it's a little of both.

Do you make character charts for your characters? If you do, put a check mark in the Planner column.

Do you have a vague theme you would like to write about and turn on your computer and envision a scene, start typing and come up with your character's name and description on the spur of the moment? If you do, put a check mark in the Pantster column.

Do you find holes in your story and then go back and plug them up? If you do, put a check mark in the Both column. You probably tend to write by the seat of your pants, read over your manuscript and realize you left out a small detail. This is common in pantster writing but a skilled pantster will pay attention. If you do this, you are really both planner and pantster. Put a check mark in the Both column.

Do you sit down to write, your mind a blank, focus on the story you've written so far, think up a new scene and attack the keyboard? If you do, you are 100% Pantster. Put a check mark in the Panster column.

Okay, count up your check marks. We don't have to choose our method by what we hear at writing conferences or from writing friends. Choose what feels right. Hopefully this little exercise will help you to recognize your method and embrace it fully.

Happy Writing!

(Photos courtesy of Photobucket.com)


dor said...

Hi. I love your blog and was wandering if you were thinking of having a link to subscribe by email.
Just a thought.

Alisha Paige said...

Mmmm....good idea. I will check with the other authors on this blog. Thanks for suggesting it!


Nancy J. Parra said...

Oh- good thoughts. I'm a pantzer but I think it's because I do all the outlining in my head without really thinking about it. lol.

Mark Alders said...

You. Are. The. Best.

That is all :-)

Your fan, Mark


Alisha Paige said...

Mark, how is it that you live on the other side of the earth and you can STILL make my day!

Love ya, mate!

Giant hug,

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