Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Footprints Lead the Way
I've always been a pantster when it comes to writing. With my completed manuscript, I only started with an image of two characters. Their story unfolded as I wrote it. With my second and third projects, I started with basic plot ideas, but within a chapter or two, those ideas turned into something else entirely. There are definite creative advantages to writing like this. None of my projects would have ended up with the story line they did if I'd had a plan. Unfortunately, there are also some major disadvantages. In the end, there is a great deal of rewriting, revising, and editing required. With my first project, because the plot didn't present itself for several chapters, my characters lacked internal motivation to act the way the new plot required them to act. Therefore, I've ended up rewriting the entire thing. The point I'm trying to get at is that, this year, I want to become a plotter, at least to a certain extent. I don't want to write by the seat of my pants. I want to make footprints that I can follow, even if they aren't set in stone. From what I can tell, the pros would far outweigh the cons. Perhaps I will find that I'm wrong, and that writing actually works better for me when I go about it without direction, but either way, I want to give it a try. That being said, one of my goals for the new year is to, at the very least, develop a basic outline before diving into my next project. I want footprints to mark crucial points in the plot and provide a vision of where I'm trying to get to. If it doesn't work for me, then so be it. I'll go back to my ways as a pantster, but I will know that I gave plotting a chance. What about you? Are you a pantster or a plotter? Have you tried both? If so, which one worked better for you.