Planner vs. Pantser

Are-you-a-Planner-or-a-PantserThere are often two kinds of writers: the ones who plan out their stories in advance and know where the characters are going to take the plot, and those who fly by the seat of their pants (the definition of ‘pantser.’) Setting off on the page with nothing more than an idea allows you to discover the story as you write. While this can be exciting, it will often lead to time-consuming editing; particularly when things have radically evolved half way through the story as you’ve come up with new ideas.

To put it another way: ‘a panda with psychic abilities’ is an idea, not a story, whereas ‘psychic panda must save the day after discovering impending zoo massacre’ gives the character a dilemna and hints at the story’s structure: (impending crisis, character must figure out how to take action, saves the day.) *

If you’re not the planning type then the pre-writing process might feel like a threat to your spontaneity, however; a well thought out story means that you know where your story is going, and crucially, how it will get there. This is particularly the case with short stories, the point of them being to get to the ending. For instance Rob Shearman summed up the short story as answering a ‘what if?’ question, the story building up to a satifying end to answer its proposal.


For newbie planners, and indeed anyone who is unsure about where to start, we’ve narrowed down all of our story plans to the three below which take you through just a few basic questions, letting your story take a bit of shape before it meets the page:

http://www.storyplanner cialis This gets you to do a quick summary of the plot and what journey the character will undergo without thinking about acts or turning points. Story elements gets the crucial details down and serves as a very basic outline.  This is a list of one word prompts to help you figure out key aspects of your character.

We look forward to hearing about your story planning journeys in the discussion forum,

Thanks for reading!

*’psychic panda’ is a very rough idea plucked out of my brain for the purpose of an example.