Mr. Pantser, meet Miss Plotter.
The two of you will be working together. Get to know each other, figure it out, make it happen. Meeting over.
Mr. Pantser: But she’s going to kill my creativity!
Miss Plotter: You only have creativity because I’m there getting you started.
Mr. Pantser: See what I mean? You’re already making me frustrated. I can’t be creative if I’m frustrated.
Miss Plotter: You can’t be creative if you’re not writing. How often do you write anyway?
Mr. Pantser: That’s easy: Every Single Day.
Miss Plotter: Aha, that’s plotting right there. You have a set schedule and a regular work routine.
Mr. Pantser: Well, OK, fine. But I seriously have no idea what I’m going to write every day.
Miss Plotter: The characters and the stories just “come to you” right?
Mr. Pantser: Exactly.
Miss Pantser: How’s that Chapter 7 coming along?
Mr. Pantser: Well, um … I’m working on it.
Miss Pantser: You mean you’re stuck.
Mr. Pantser: No, I’m thinking about where it’s going next.
Miss Plotter: Oh, I’m sorry, did you say thinking? I thought you might have said plotting. Maybe it was planning.
Mr. Pantser: I’m just not exactly sure where it’s going next. I just need to sit down with it and let my creative juices get flowing.
Miss Plotter: Are there dishes in the sink?
Mr. Pantser: Huh? What? No.
Miss Plotter: Watered the plants today?
Mr. Pantser: Yes. Wait. What?
Miss Plotter: You need me.
Mr. Panster: I’m just simmering the story a little.
Miss Plotter: You’re plotting.
Mr. Pantser: Am not.
Miss Plotter: Am too.
Mr. Pantser: Am not!
Miss Plotter: Am too!
Mr. Pantser: Charlie doesn’t really know what’s going to happen next.
Miss Plotter: But if you write, you’ll figure it out, right?
Mr. Pantser: Yes. Well, usually. Sometimes it drags a little while he’s figuring it out.
Miss Plotter: What about the overarching theme?
Mr. Pantser: The huh? What?
Miss Plotter: Where is this part of the story in the main theme or arc of the book? What’s the bigger picture?
Mr. Pantser: Charlie is figuring it out as he’s going along.
Miss Plotter: How does the reader feel about that?
Mr. Pantser: It’s adventurous, it’s exciting, it’s … possibly a little scattered.
Miss Plotter: I need you, Mr. Pantser. You have imagination and creativity. But you need me, I have structure and long-term story arcs.
Mr. Pantser: But …
Miss Plotter: No buts. A but is a perfect example of pantsing gone astray.
Mr. Pantser: Where is Charlie going next? What’s the bigger picture?
Miss Plotter: Red or white?
Mr. Pantser: Huh? Red or white what?
Miss Plotter: Wine, Mr. Pantser. Wine.
Mr. Panster: If you know so much and can tell me what’s going to happen, you tell me.
Miss Plotter: Red.
Mr. Pantser: I think this is going to work.
Miss Plotter: I know this is going to work.
I’m working away on two books right now:
They are very different books. ESD is a non-fiction, researched, self-help and motivational manual to create true and lasting change in your life. The UMM is a fictional paranormal story about how a person, unknowingly, receives a secret power and he doesn’t really know what to do with it.
ESD has three full sections or books with 10 chapters each. UMM is a free-flowing journal of Charlie Holiday’s adventures in becoming a superhero.
ESD is solid and thought out. UMM is frolicking.
ESD is a Plotter. UMM is a Panster.
A Plotter is “A NaNoWriMo term that means that you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ when you are writing your novel. You have nothing but the absolute basics planned out for your novel.” (from Urban Dictionary)
A Pantser is “someone who plans out their novel before they write it. A pantser is someone who, “flies by the seat of their pants,” meaning they don’t plan out anything, or plan very little.” (from The Write Practice)
But within each book, I acknowledge (OK, reluctantly) that I need aspects of both Pantsers and Plotters. They help each other, they work together, they’re better together.
P.S. I’m also filing this as part of the Every Single Day series as it’s a perfect example of how structure not only does not hinder creativity, it accelerates it.