Outliners Vs. Pantsers

Hey, everyone!

 

Sorry for the late post, it’s been a bit crazy with trying to finish Beyond My Words by the deadline I set for myself.  Finally gave my editor the first bit of The Holiday Spirit last night, so hopefully, we can get Holly into the spotlight again sometime soon.  Stay tuned for updates with how that’s all going.

 

Now, for today’s topic of different writing styles.

 

I’m constantly writing.  Even when I’m not sitting in front of my computer with Microsoft Word open to one of my books, I’m writing.  My brain never really turns off when it comes to creating stories.  I’ve been this way since I was thirteen and, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every song I listen to, I relate more to it through the eyes of my characters before I think about what it means through my own eyes.  Each character I create has a special place in my heart, whether it’s a side character, main antagonist, or protagonist.  I love all of my characters.

When I’m on a drive, I’m not analyzing my own circumstances, I’m analyzing a plotline or scene, asking myself questions like, “Where do I want them to be?” “How would they react in this situation?”

 

So, my writing process is interesting in the order I create.  In the writing world, it’s said there are two kinds of writers in the universe, outliners and pantsers.

Outliners tend to plan everything out in their plots, where they want their characters to end up at the end of their arc, etc. etc..  Often, they’ll do this by physically outlining their stories, usually involving Post-It notes or a bulletin board.

Pantsers are those writers who fly by the seat of their pants.  They discover their stories with the characters, not knowing which way the plot is going to go.

 

Then there’s me.  (and I’m sure a lot of other writers out there.)  I’m the awkward mix between the two.  With a lot of my stories, I’ll write out a basic idea of how I want a story or particular scene so I don’t forget where I was planning to go with it if I can’t write the actual scene right then.  I have probably about a hundred random notes in the Notes app on my phone that’s full of tid-bits from my stories.  Some of those make it into my stories.  Most of them, however, don’t.

More often than not, my stories are discovered with the characters, so I’ve always considered myself more of a pantser than an outliner.  Usually, when I use my outlines, it’s because I don’t want to forget what I wanted for that particular story or scene.  But I’m always open to wherever the characters are willing to take me.  A lot of characters, (*cough, cough* Brock in Beyond My Words) appear into scenes they were originally not supposed to be in.  He’s a bit of a spotlight hog.

 

I’ve found this method works well for me, but I’ve spent a lot of time and energy (and Post-It notes) trying out different methods.  If you want to find your own personal style, practice and experimentation make perfect!

 

Thanks for reading!  Like, comment, and subscribe to my newsletter for more little insights and updates on my latest projects.

Published by Chandler R. Williamson

Chandler R. Williamson grew up near Ogden, UT with her parents and three older brothers who home-schooled with her. She started writing at the age of twelve and has written several works since. Now, she lives with her husband, two cats, and lots of stuffed penguins.

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