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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Peaslee

Plotting vs. Pantsing—Does it Matter?

The immortal argument between writers: which is better—plotting or pantsing?


For those of you who may not know, plotting is when you plan your story in advance. Pantsing is when you write "by the seat of your pants," or without advance planning.


I've seen a lot of people question which method is better. The truth is, neither is better. Some people work better as pantsers, others as plotters, and others prefer a hybrid. The Write Practice calls the hybrid method "plantsing."


 

Plotting vs. Pantsing vs. Hybrid—Pros & Cons


Plotter

Pros: Gives you structure as you write, making it easier to stay on track.


Cons: Can be too restrictive; new writers may feel that they can't deviate from what's already been plotted, because that may create a domino effect of changes.


Another possible con: some writers I know find that if they know how a story will end, they lose interest in writing it.


 

Panster

Pros: Gives you more freedom.


Cons: Makes it easier to hit a wall.


When it comes to short stories, I tend to be a pantser. I get an idea for a story, and I write until the idea becomes a fully-formed plot. I often have no idea how a story is going to end when I start writing it.


 

Hybrid

Pros: Best of both worlds!


Cons: Can feel a little chaotic at times; can still hit a wall.


For my book, Sorority Zombies in Space!, I adopted a plantsing nature. I started writing without any planning, but eventually, I hit that wall and had to plan where I was going.


 

There Is No Wrong Answer


You have to do what works best for you. Follow your gut.

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