Pantsing or planning?
Well, if you’ve been a part of the writing community, even for a few days, you’ve probably heard these terms. However, if you are unfamiliar with them, they are just different methods for going about plotting your story. It doesn’t matter the size of the story, both of these can be used.
The question is which method is better?
Well, the answer is…both.
With planning, the author plots out nearly every aspect of the story. From character arc to worldbuilding, everything is mapped out. I have heard of some authors making outlines that are nearly as long as books themselves.
The great thing about planning is that you already have everything laid out before you and you know exactly where the story is going to go. All plot twists are accounted for and foreshadowing is soooo much easier since you already know exactly where each hint is going to go and why.
Flexibility, however, is not planning’s strong suit. If a great idea pops into an author’s mind, finding a place to put the idea can result in a lot of plot tetris. Additionally, if a character is fighting the author, making the character go the way planned can result in the writing seeming forced and lacking flow.
With pantsing, the author writes the book as the ideas pop into their head. Essentially, the story is written as the character interacts with the obstacles places before them by the author. Very little to nothing is written out before hand.
Pantsing allows for many changes to be made to the plot throughout the writing of the story. This allows for a great deal of flexibility for plot twists and character arcs. The characters are more fluid as they grow through the story with the lack of a set character growth.
The downside to pantsing is that fact that nothing is planned. Though a few scenes might be thought of before hand, there is no method to getting to those scenes and as such writer’s block can be quite prevalent. Foreshadowing often has to be retroactive and plot twists can get tangled with subplots creating a spaghetti mess.
Both of these methods have their pros and their cons. But neither is better than the other. For me, pantsing works best, though I have tried both. Others I know prefer planning and they do it beautifully. It all comes down to personal preference. And if the end result isn’t what you hoped for, no matter what method you used, there is always editing.
Are you a pantser or planner or both? What’s your favorite way to write?