Thursday, December 22, 2016

Westside Writers Mingle November 2016 Recap: Pantsers vs Plotters—Techniques to Get Into Your Writing

by Laurie Young

Taking an informal survey of the room, we discovered that we ran the full gamut of pure pantsers to hybrid pantser/plotters and all the way to dedicated plotters and outliners. Some used both techniques at different stages of their process, either starting out completely blind and then developing an outline after the first draft was done, or starting with a detailed outline and then letting the writing veer off as needed, during the revision process.

Many great tips were shared, such as:

  • Write a letter from the perspective of your character telling about their life and story, rather than writing a synopsis.
  • Use the character’s choices and wants to determine what happens next.
  • Free write around a difficult scene, trying it from each character’s point-of-view.
  • Rewrite a scene from your story from the antagonist’s point of view, as if he is the hero.
  • To open your mind—take a walk and note observations along the way. Pick 5 things observed and write a 20-word sentence about each (do not go over the word count). Pick 1 sentence and write a short story from it.

At the end of the evening, both pantsers and plotters shared great ideas for bridging the gap and using techniques from both camps to further their writing.

Some resources:
The Plot Whisperer books

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