Evie Alexander blog - Planner or Pantser - featured image
On Writing

On plotting vs pantsing

In the writing world, people often like to describe themselves as a ‘planner’ or a ‘pantser’. Are you someone who carefully plots their stories, writes pages of notes about the backstory of their characters, and only dares type the first word when you know how each scene will play out? Or are you a pantser, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, the kind of person who wakes up from an awesome dream about a dinosaur having sex with a werewolf in space and decides to write about it, without any clue as to how or when it will end?

I started out as a pantser. I sat down with a vague idea and some seemingly killer scene ideas and just wrote. By the time I had finished the first draft, the story had evolved into an unmanageable beast. A year and multiple edits later and the vague idea was a proper story, and those killer scenes I once thought critical to the book were no longer anywhere to be seen.

Now I’m more of a planner. I have too many books to write for each one to take a year. At that rate I’ll be older than Moses by the time I’ve written all the books in my head. I need to make sure the structure is there, the scenes hang nicely on it, and the characters are fully worked out. But I know that the more I write, the more books I plan, the more those structures will become embedded, and I can turn back into a pantser, waking up from a delicious dream and just sitting down to write, letting the characters and the writing take me wherever they want to go.