Planner, Pantser or Planster - The 3 Little P's

Six days to go until NaNoWriMo! Have you decided your path: planner, pantser or planster? If you are new to NaNoWriMo, you may be wondering what it means to be a planner, pantser or plantser.

Planners go almost by the book when it comes to preparing to start a manuscript. From developing a story idea, to creating character sketches, writing a synopsis, creating the setting, and working on plot sequencing, all before the first day of NaNoWriMo. I tried this last year but half-way through my nicely planned work, some of my key characters rebelled and I ended up with a totally different story. This blew my mind and I have yet to finish editing the draft because I just don't know what to think about what I ended up with. I have a strong desire to change the story to what I originally wanted but I also like the story it became. For now I am stuck between worlds.

Pantsers just sit down on day one and start writing. Most don't even have a definite story idea. These people continue through to day thirty just writing the story as they go. I have never tried to just sit down and write a novel length piece from scratch. Just the thought of it begins to lock up the gears in my brain, but for many it is where they excel.

At the Crossroads Between Planner and Pantser

At the crossroads of these two approaches is the plantser. A plantser has a general collection of notes. They may cover characters or settings, or they may just have a collection of vignettes that they want to weave into a story. This is where I am this year. I decided not to go full-bore with a story setup after what happened last year. I am fully expecting to let this group of characters lead where they want to go.

Whether you decide to be a planner, pantser or planster is up to you. What you do with that path is what is important. If you find yourself on one of these paths and  end up on a detour like I did last year...don’t sweat it. Just go with the flow and see where you end up. However, if you choose to be a planner, you’d better get busy! NaNoWriMo 2016 is just days away!


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