Plotter vs. Pantser: Which one are you?

someone deciding between an outline or coming up with their story on the spot

So how do you actually write your novel? That depends.

I personally feel it is easiest to go from the big picture down to small picture when outlining.

First you should decide how you want to write. Are you someone that wants to create an extensive outline detail each and every event, or do you write better when you just starting writing and see where it goes?

How do you actually write your story?

What to do?

Go from big picture down to small picture when outlining. Start with basic story structure and apply it to your story. Next start writing general synopsis of the main plot and subplots, and well as any character arcs that you plan to develop. Once you have that information, start writing scenes and divide them into chapters.


Advantages: If you are someone that can design and fill out a comprehensive outline and

Disadvantages: It can be extremely difficult to simultaneously learn how to write a story and try to plan it out. For many writers, it can be overwhelming to try and add in every detail to an outline.

Also, by creating an outline, you are deciding what happens before you start writing. This can lead to a plot that feel inorganic to where the story should be going. For example if you plan a great action scene in a volcano, but when you are writing you


Advantages: Natural progression of the story as it goes. You aren’t considering what you need to include in the 16th chapter when your’e writing the 5th chapter. This allows you to focus on writing based only on what has happened in the story so far.

Disadvantages: While you are focusing on what is happening as you write your story, you can fall into a trap of writing a story without structure.

Which is better?

Whichever one makes writing easier for you. You will have to edit again and again so take comfort in knowing neither one will be perfect the first time around.

If you are writing a ten book series, outlining would be a much better way to stay organized.

Not all plotting is as intensive as creating a comprehensive outline. Some plotting can be as basic the infographic above.

Just remember to use whatever works for you. Using plotting techniques is a great way to stay on track, but if it doesn’t work for you don’t use it.


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