Plotting is pantsing

February 26, 2020 in Blog

Okay, plotting isn’t pantsing.

I know I just implied that plotting was pantsing way up there in the title. But what I really wanted to say is that I don’t think the distinction is as vast as the common wisdom would have us believe, and here’s why.

Plotters pant(s?) their outlines.

Admit it: you thought I was revving up to wax philosophical about this for a hundred paragraphs, didn’t you? Well no such luck. That’s really all I have to say on the topic, so the end.

Actually, just a few more thoughts. Because here’s the thing: when I embark on a new project, I just don’t trust myself to find my way in the dark. That’s why I plot. I need guideposts. But don’t doubt for a second that when I’m outlining I’m pantsing from scene to scene, from concept to concept, and from foreshadowing to revelation. The discovery is all there, only without all the meat between the bones. That way my investment is minimal, and I feel free to take a path that may prove to be false without fear that I’ll need to tear up a hundred pages of prose.

Or, you hear the criticism that the plotting process kills some of the magic of the writing. But really, the magic comes out in either scenario—and either way it’s going to get trodden on during multiple edits or revisions.

So, I just don’t see the rift, and that’s all I have to say about that.

I do admire those who can just take a leap into the prose. Fly free! But the leaps I take will be of the bullet pointed variety, thank you.