Monday, April 22, 2013

Back to Business: Becoming a Plotter?

Like the chicken or the egg, I feel confident that the eternal writers' debate over whether plotting (outlining and other detailed planning before starting ms) or pantsing (a more go-with-the-flow, follow-your-characters) is the optimal way to craft a novel will never really end.
My tendency is to work somewhere in the middle. I start with character and a pretty clear sense of the trajectory my mc will take. Then I do a fairly quick first draft, generally with quite a few research breaks depending on the topic. After that, I make a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline, including date-stamping each verse (or chapter). All the while, though, I try to remain very open to letting my characters act and speak as authentically as possible and try not to push the story in service of a pre-determined plot notion.

Of course, thus far I have published contemporary YA. However, my next manuscript has a strong thriller element. And a technology component. And some government stuff.  In a near-future setting. Can I pants a first draft of a novel that requires futuristic world-building? Or is it time to outline and date-stamp BEFORE I do the first draft? And will that make the first draft weaker character-wise?

Think I've asked enough questions. Do you shift between plot and pants mode depending on genre? Have any other thoughts or suggestions?  Help, please!

1 comment:

Laura Marcella said...

I've always considered myself to be a plotter, but recently I heard of the term "organic outlining" and that's a better description. I plan my novel but I allow the writing process to lead me in new directions I hadn't considered during the planning stage. Then I adjust my outline accordingly.

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines