Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.
This Week’s Topic: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you like to make a detailed plan before you start a project? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go along?
Easy. I’m a plotter, both in writing and in life. I like to have a plan for everything I do: day-to-day activities, traveling, tackling the grocery store, and yes, writing. That’s not to say I’m a rigid stick in the mud. I am fairly flexible. Things change–of course they do–but anytime there’s a change, I like to make a note of it on my outline. 🙂
Here’s my process for plotting (discussed in more detail in this previous POST):
1) Once I’ve got an idea I’ve stewed over for a good, long while (like, months) I write a twenty-five word (hopefully) high concept pitch, which forces me to get my idea down to its true essence. Later, I use my pitch to write a three-line pitch, then a full query-type blurb.
2) Next I make a basic list of the scenes I already have in my head, which is pretty much an enormous brainstorming session.
3) Then, I tackle a beat sheet, plugging scenes into appropriate places, and coming up with new ones to fill in the gaps. The beat sheet I use is a melding of the one in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and the summary of steps in The Hero’s Journey.
4) Once I have my beat sheet, I make a detailed outline, scene by scene and color-coded, one I follow pretty closely once I begin to write. Of course my scene outline isn’t set in stone. I add and delete as I go, because once I start writing, the story begins to come to life and certain aspects inevitably become more or less important.
Sometimes I wish my process could be less formulaic. It seems so much more romantic to sit down with an idea and just start writing, but plotting works for me and I’m sticking with it!
Tell me… are you a plotter or a pantser?