Stuck in the Middle #MFRWauthor #plotter #panster

Week 19 – MFRW 52-week Blog Challenge

Join us for week 19. Plotter or Panster and why? This is hard for me. I have tried both ways.

Plotting. When I first began writing I read all the books and got several on plotting. I set up character profiles setting sheets then went chapter by chapter with each topic or plot and subplot, the arcs, all of that good stuff. I spent months. Then I had to go in and write dialogue, then go in and layer and fill and smooth it all out. Way to much work for me and the story felt stale. So I decided to join NaNoWriMo one November and do a story in a month. I did a general character profile on my two main characters and took off. Some days I had no idea what I needed to do or say next, other I’d go off on a tangent. I got that story done in thirty days but what a hot mess. It was so repetitive had lots of loopholes and a rushed ending. I did this three years with the same outcome.

So Neither pantsing or plotting works for me. I’m sorta stuck in the middle. I do a detailed character sketch that grows with the story, setting sketches and keep these printed in a notebook where I can flip through for pertinent information. When I get the story Idea I also jot down my general idea, inspiration, facts I need to gather or research, then get all that together and printed for my notebook as well. If I have dialogue that comes to me as I occasionally do I jot it down and note where it may go.. but it can be easily moved. This gives me an idea of my story and keeps my facts straight, then I try to write the story more organically or as you say pants it. This seems to be working much better for me.

Do pants or plot?

Let’s go see what the other authors have to say…

1.Stuck In The Middle~ Cathy Writes Romance2.Tricia Schneider – Plotter, Pantser or Something
3.Process? What process? – #HollyBargo4.Panster Envy #LynnChantale
5.Character-Driven Plot Building6.Coloring Without Pants #MFRWauthor
7.Plantzer Checking In8.To write is to be a pantser #MFRWauthor
9.Plotter with Pantser Tendencies

14 thoughts on “Stuck in the Middle #MFRWauthor #plotter #panster

  1. Hi, Cathy. I also keep a physical binder for each story, including character sketches, a To-Do list, a calendar, and scene cards a la Lisa Cron. Something new for my current project: a stack of note cards instead of an electronic outline. I’m a kinesthetic learner, so it helps me to be able to arrange plot points on my dining room table and shuffle them around. Happy writing, happy weekend!

    1. The note cards instead of the electronic outline sounds interesting. Maybe I should try that instead of Scrivner. I like being able to shuffle things around too.

  2. The middle ground can be labeled a “puzzler,” someone who does a bit of both and pieces the parts together rather like a quilt.

    1. Boy does that fit me to a t. I have a tendency to wiggle and move stuff just like a puzzle taking the first draft, whacking it up and moving it around LOL.

  3. I jokingly call myself a ‘recovering pantser’ because the books I’ve written by the seat of my pants often (usually?) either don’t get finished or aren’t salable. I started in traditional publishing (Silhouette), and I think I wrote or started 8 or 9 books to get 3 published.

    I simply can’t waste that much of my life, but neither can I plot each and every scene for the whole book. I learn too much about my characters and world during the act of writing. What works for me is to plot out in detail the first 1/3 or 1/2, as well as the ending. By the time I’ve written that much, I pause to plot out the rest, which usually flows pretty quickly.

    1. That sounds like a good method. I tried the pantsing for Nano and am still working on making this draft readable. No more straight pantsing for me. Probably no more Nano either.

  4. That’s how I am, too, somewhere in the middle. I write down the major points and certain character info, such as specific dates relating to their lives, and for the rest there is wiggle room. For character development, I tend to live with my characters by thinking about how they would act or what they would say in situations throughout my own day. For me it’s the easiest way to learn their personalities. I like the notecard idea. too. It probably makes it easier to rearrange an outline.

    1. I think the middle is good. It is the best of both worlds and does give room for growth. Though I would love to be able to sit down and just write a story in one fluid draft.

  5. LOL…..an editor and I were having a conversation about the ‘original copy-and-paste’, when I brought up the fact the only time I’ve moved chunks of text around was when I wrote my HS psych research paper, and actually CUT my 1st draft and TAPED it to the second one. LOL!

    Maybe it’s just how my brain works now. It simply flows from beginning to end, although twenty years ago, I’d written a bunch of unrelated scenes (in longhand), then one day, the idea of how to tie them together just came to me out of the blue.

  6. I did Nano for six or seven years. After the first year, I didn’t follow the rules against writing without editing as we go. I’d still be editing the second book if I did after the first year. We have to do what works for us. I used to be a full pantser with a brief plan and a sketch of my characters. Now, I do plot, mostly in Word, Excel, with images, and note-taking apps, including timelines. Plus, I keep a series bible for each series. I call plotting, having a plan instead of saying “plotting.” I write as a pantser with a plan, but I call it planster. Like Kate said, I too live with my characters so I can learn everything about them. I learned, too, our characters can keep secrets from us. I missed the linky this week so posted late. I’m glad you found what works best for you. Sorry this comment got so long!

    1. I subscribe to your blog so I always get it even late LOL. I ever get my review list caught up so I can read books I buy I plan to get some of yours because…COWBOYS!!! but seems like all I get to are my ever growing review lists lol. But I follow so I can keep up with you and your cowboys.
      Seems we write very similarly. or will be once I am done fixing this poor WIP. If I get it done and the one for October I may sketch out my next and try it for NaNo but like you not following the rules on the editing. I do not want another hot mess like this I still have two or so in my files that need so much work. I just have to figure if I want to do one of the three new ideas, which Genre ( I am doing three) or the sequel to this WIP which I really need to do. If I don’t get a good sketch done in October for a new one I will skip NaNo and just do my own thing…No more going in without a plan. Good luck on your writing.

      1. I’ve been a NaNo Rebel a few times. That way, you are working on a current project and not starting a new book. Not everyone agrees with being a rebel. I don’t know if anyone still does, but look it up in a NaNo forum if you’re interested. I think whatever keeps you writing to a daily word count works. But without breaking the rules like I do, it turns out to be a hot mess. I can’t write now without editing as I go, or to go back at the end of the day and edit what I wrote. That takes time away from writing, but by the end of a twelve hour day, I’m done writing anyway. LOL Oh, and yeah Cowboys! <3

        1. I have been called a rebel many times. LOL I might could do the rebel thing. November is such a busy month for me and with a new great grandbaby coming i will have new schedules so I will have to see where life is in November LOL.

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