Today the lovelies at YA Highway are asking: Do you like to make a detailed plan before you start a project? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go along?
I like to think I fall somewhere in the middle. I completely pantsed the heck out of my first draft of Four Stones, and I know I’ve talked before about how that wound up being a disaster of epic proportions. Like “nothing short of a brand new Word document will save this” proportions. I have nightmares involving that terrible first draft winding up on the internet and everyone thinking I’m the worst writer since, well, this guy.
I vowed that never again would I pants my way through a novel. But at the same time, I’m not one of those writers (who I admire but secretly hate) who can sit down and create a detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline of exactly how the book is going to go. It would be so nice during those middle-of-the-book lulls to have an outline to fall back on, but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried. Not in the blood.
So instead I opt for the happy medium. I have a very loose outline that roadmaps by beginning point, middle point and end point, I always know the main conflict, and I usually have a few subplots in mind, but other than that, the road is wide open. If I want to get from Atlanta to New York City by way of Indianapolis, then that’s okay. I might sit back during revision and scream “Why the eff did I go to Indianapolis? That’s so out of the way!” or I might say “Wow, Indianapolis was really cool. I met a lot of awesome people there.” You never know, and that’s half the fun. Structured freedom, that’s my style.
What about you? Plotter or pantser?