Monday, November 26, 2007

Pantzers and Plotters

I wish I could sit in front of a computer and just write.

I know an author who can finish a full-length manuscript in less than a month. Characters, plots, subplots, revisions, everything in less than a month. And her books are wonderful, as her numerous trips to various best-seller lists attest. She's been writing for decades. Even after I've been writing for decades - in four years, I'll be able to make that claim - I won't be able to finish a 100,000-word manuscript in less than a month.

The author I referenced is a pantzer, a writer who can comfortably sit at the computer and let the story come to her. I'm the polar opposite; I'm a plotter with myriad tools and rituals I have to complete before I can start a manuscript. My main characters' goal/motivation/conflict grids, 20 Things That Have To Happen in this Story list, Hero's Journey chart and scene-by-scene chapter outline. Tedious, most possibly overkill, but I developed this ritual from self-defense. You see, I panic if I don't know where my story's going.

These exercises also serve as a sort of pre-revision stage. The other day, I realized something I want to occur in chapter nine scene three would have to be foreshadowed in chapter three scene one. I console myself that it's better to discover something like that in an outline rather than having to go back 90-some pages to fix the chapters.

Which one are you? A pantzer or a plotter?



angela henry said...

Great topic, Patricia! I'm a plotter right down to the bone! I HAVE to outline my books before I start writing. Wish I could be a pantzer, though ; ).

Nine to Five Diva said...

I wish I was a pantzer instead of a plotter too, but at best, I can only hope to one day between a healthy combination of both.


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