Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Writing Tip Wednesday--Plotter or Pantser?

***GIVEAWAY ALERT--Leave a comment by March 6th for a chance to win one of five pdf copies of Playing in the Raine!!!***

Everybody seems to have an opinion about plotting vs. pantsing. What? You've never heard of this great controversy?

We need some definitions...
Plotter: A writer who plans a manuscript before writing. This can involve outlines, storyboards, character bios, etc. Many of these stories are plot-driven.
Pantser: A writer who writes a manuscript with no preparation, allowing the characters to tell the story. These books are usually more character-driven.

Which is the right way?
Does one work better than the other?
Which are you?

My opinion--There is no right way. I'm not trying to be diplomatic. I really believe each writer has his/her own method that works for him/her. So, which am I???

A Plantser. That's right. I'm a combination of the two.

My process typically involves an idea popping into my head at a most inopportune time, like when I'm in the middle of another WIP. The idea is almost always characters finding themselves in a particular situation that challenges them to work toward a happily ever after. Several scenes develop in my head over a period of days or weeks, forming the most basic of plot lines.
Then I sit down to write. The perfect character names are essential, and usually by this time, I know the hero and heroine well enough to choose fitting names. I tend to use the opening scene for characterization, putting the character in a stressful position to see how he/she handles the pressure. The hero/heroine often leads me in the direction I need to go to reach the next scene. My characters always seem to know when and how they should meet (or realize the attraction if they already know each other), whether it's a confrontation or a crisis bringing them together. With the few basics of the plot line, the story continues toward the final happily ever after. Usually, the plot makes a few unexpected turns along the way and the characters say and do things that surprise me--but I enjoy this method of writing.

However, what works for me doesn't necessarily work for everybody else. Occasionally, plantsing doesn't work for the book I'm writing, and I have to do more plotting and planning. Sometimes, the characters take over, straying from my intended plot.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Or are you a plantser like me? :)

Happy Writing!!! And don't forget to comment by March 6th for a chance to win a copy of Playing in the Raine!If you're unable to comment, drop me an e-mail ( for a chance to win!

Next week--Misplaced Modifiers!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!


  1. I'm a pantser although after reading your blog, I think I stray towards the planstser like you do. But I find that every book seems to tell me how it needs to be done...the characters are always so damn demanding! :)

    1. I know what you mean, Lynne! I think I have the basic plot figured out, and the characters take off in a different direction. Gotta listen to the voices! :)