Monday, September 28, 2015

Why I Converted from Pantser to Plotter

Pantsers, let me hear your wild hollers! 

Plotters, wave your notebooks and charts from side to side!

I used to consider myself a die-hard Pantser. Character questionaires bored me to tears. Outlines made me gnaw my fingers into bloody stumps. What I wanted was the thrill of raw discovery--the kind you get from the twist in that scene even you didn’t see coming.

But I paid for this thrill in countless revisions. The lack of character prep left me with characters I didn’t know, who only became clear after waaaaay too many rewrites. There were a few surprising twists, sure, but there were also plot holes and disconnected…things. All the things were disconnected.

With my current WIP, I wanted to avoid all that. I wanted to learn from my past mistakes instead of rewriting them. My CP encouraged me to try plotting, and she ensured me that in her plotting, she’s still surprised by the unexpected turns.

Well, folks, I tried plotting. I’m still trying it. And I have to say, there’s no turning back. This is revision number one for my WIP, but the story’s so different from the first, un-plotted draft that I may as well be writing a whole different story. I understand my characters on such a deep level. I’m figuring out the twists and turns and still getting giddy over them. All the things are connecting. It’s bliss. There’s no doubt in my mind this will cut my future revision time, which means less work. Who doesn’t like less work? 

In case anyone’s curious as to how I’ve gone about this plotting thing I love so much, here’s the sauce: K.M. Weiland's website. Yes. I suggest going through her How to Write Character Arcs series and answering the questions at the bottom of each post. The questions provoked me to explore my MC’s character arc within the plot on a much deeper level than I ever would have on my own.

If you give it a try, I’d love to hear your experience! And what better time than in October, to prep you for NaNoWriMo in November!?

Write on,


  1. :-) I liked this post, and definitely followed the link you provided. I like KM Weiland's tips. Thanks.

  2. i also use character arcs when planning. No traditional outline for me, but character arcs a must.