Thursday, February 16, 2017

Best of the ICFW Archives: Thoughts from a flexible plotter

By Lisa Harris

In writing fiction, writers typically divide themselves into two camps: Plotters and pansters. Personally, I’ve always found it interesting to learn how other writers plot (or don’t plot) and put their stories together.

Here is a quick definition of the two ‘camps.’

Plotters need structure when they write. They usually use outlines or charts, chapter by chapter summaries, or at a minimum an understanding of the beginning, middle, and end before they start to write.

Panters might begin with just a single scene that intrigues them. They need to have a freedom in their writing which might mean not knowing the ending, or simply writing as they go.

Figuring out how YOU best write is key as you jump into a new project. For myself, I’ve come to realize that I am a flexible plotter. I use an outline because my plots are usually pretty complicated, but that doesn’t mean I know everything up front. There are always a lot of surprises along the way.

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