Discussion: Are You a Planner/Plotter or a Pantser?

Assorted notepads with a few plot outlines, half-designed worlds and some character profiles are stacked in a corner of my room; each one half-filled with my almost illegible handwriting. I've attempted, multiple times, to be a planner. I've sat down with the intent to write chapter-summaries, or even plot a whole novel, but I rarely decide on more than the first handful of pages. The reason? I'm a pantser. That person who sits down at their laptop and writes whatever comes in their head; there's an idea but, no plan to follow. It's like walking with no destination. You just hope that it will all turn into a short-story at the end.

I'm impatient. Not desperately, but quite. When I've fallen head-over-heels for an idea, all I want to do is write it. I want to work through those first few chapters; rather than spend hours sorting through what will happen during them. No doubt, I'm the same with books. The wait for a sequel is always a struggle, as is the one for a book-shaped parcel to make an appearance in my letter-box. I constantly check Goodreads, and if I'm not doing that, I'm looking through the post. One thing is for sure, you don't want to be stuck in a traffic-jam with me! I find waiting a task. Holding back the urge to write - especially after weeks of struggling with writer's block - is difficult. Trying to plan during these moments makes morning or afternoon incredibly unproductive, as I want to actually be typing! I adore writing - and love how, when I don't plan, the ending comes together.

Mostly, I can blame time for my lack of planning, and how it is non-existent during the school term. If I come home and realise I haven't written a blog post in days, I normally resort to writing a short story after spending a few minutes deciding on what it will be about. It has to be quick. And, although I don't have a collection of written notes, I do think a lot about what I'm going write. Whether it's an upcoming post or new piece of writing, I spend time sorting through what I want to write in my mind, like the points I wanted to make in this discussion. Currently, I'm beginning to use Wattpad a lot more, and am writing for that; finding myself constantly thinking about the characters and their backgrounds, along with how the world it is set in came about.

 As a huge fan of Dystopia, I know I can't just expect to work out a world whilst writing, and that it needs to be thought-out. As much as I love being a pantser, writing in the spur-of-the-moment, I wish I was more of a planner. Away from my keypad, I'm always writing to-do lists and making timetables on Word; sorting out blog events and jotting down notes on post-its. Everything is so organised(most of the time). With writing, being more like this would help me, as you can really see when reading who has put the most time or effort into their work. It's crystal-clear that George R.R. Martin didn't just design the whole Song of Ice and Fire series as he went. It's too intricate. Too detailed. At the moment, I'm definitely challenging myself into becoming a plotter for longer pieces of writing, rather than just opening up a Word document immediately.

Let's see how this works out!

So, are you a planner/plotter or a pantser?
Have you ever tried to change your writing style?

Tell me in the comments!


  1. Like you, I'm a pantser. As someone who wants to be a YA Author, I'm filled with ideas, but the main problem I have is that I don't have a middle for any of these stories - I have a beginning and an end, but nothing in between. That's why I'm a pantser, because then I can just go with the flow and see where my writing takes me. Plotting is something I've tried before but it's just too systematic for me.

  2. I am a bit of both .... I try very hard to plan, but do not always manage, which is probably why my WIP of a full year (that's right, twelve whole months) has only just crested 30k. I do write out lists of questions for myself to remind myself of my multiple plot holes, and I make notes - basically, written diarrhea - which can spur my thoughts. But I never bother with character arcs or similar, and as for dialogue - it just goes all over the place!

    What are you working on at the moment? :)

  3. PANTSTER PANTSER PANTSER. but i hate it, which is why i can never finish a novel, so i'm trying to be a plotter - first attempt! WISH ME LUCK.

  4. THIS IS ME. I had an idea the other day, and jotted down everything down on my phone. Yesterday, I sat down and told myself I was going to plan it... IT WAS AWFUL.. My head kept getting filled with ideas and I wanted it to be a series, and I just had too many things going on in my head to plan stuff methodically.. In the end, I decided I was going to wing-it... XD I then sat down to write a brilliant opening sentence AND.. nothing. NOTHING thatI liked came out. *sigh* I decided to save it for another day... Ah well! Great post- I'm trying to do the same as you with plotting.. I'll see how it goes! Good luck!

  5. Pantser all the way ;) although, it never actually helps. I always get to about the 5th chapter, and sit staring blankly at my laptop, wondering where this is going. I need to become more a plotter. I have an idea which i am hoping could work, but I just need to expand on it and try and make something of it.



Thank you so much for taking the time to read - and comment on - this blog post! I read and reply to every comment, so feel free to ask any questions and I'll answer!

See you soon!

Sophie Louise