It’s easy to forget writing tips when you’re eyeball deep in story-crafting. Yes, I’ve had outlines and notes to keep me on track. But that often doesn’t work. You’ve heard of plotters, pantsers, and even plansters.
A plotter is someone who outlines their novel. They keep close track of the character’s journey step by step. They have a ton of notes. They know where the story goes from beginning, middle, and end.
A pantser is someone who just starts their story without any planning. They learn about their character and the plot as they go. This comes from the term ‘by the seat of your pants’. This is also called discovery writing, and it can be a very beautiful thing. I’ve come up with some great stuff as a discovery writer, but I usually end up spinning around in circles when I discovery write.
And a planster/planter is a term I never heard of until a few years ago. It’s a mix between a plotter and a pantser.
I first started out my writing career as a pantser. Then I hopped over to being a plotter, then transfered over to planster. I’m a bit of a planster now, but I do lean more heavily on outlines or some sort of guideline.
There is no one way to write a book or construct one. Something that works for you or me may not work for someone else. Every writer has a style that works for them. Others are still exploring.
But I’ve come up with a new term to add to the mix. It’s a bad habit I’ve been doing for decades, and it drives my best friend absolutely crazy. I call it puzzling. Yes, I’m a puzzler.
A puzzler is when you have a partial manuscript, more often a full or completed one and you’re not satisfied with the order of events. So you start swapping chapters around like puzzle pieces, trying to find the correct fits.
In computer programs such as yWriter and Scrivener, this can be a blessing and a nightmare at the same time. Because all it takes is just a few drag and drops. Always make sure you have an original backup before you start messing with your project this way. It can be, and often is very messy, and very frustrating.
So why do I do it that way? Maybe because I’m always looking for the most dramatic impact. That’s one of my biggest problems, and its a very bad habit all of my stories and novels have encountered.
Being a puzzler was something I thought I’d be leaving behind after I wrote my latest book: Infinity 8: The Demon Lord of California. But in writing book 2, puzzling hit me full force. More about that next week.
What writing label do you most identify with your writing? Share your thoughts below!