Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Are you a pantser or an outliner?

As I'm writing my current WiP, I was motoring along with full steam until I ran into a block. This is usually what happens when I try to write on the fly. So, this question is interesting. Can you write better with or without an outline?

I do try to write without an outline. I like to see where my character takes me, an I often know what the ending is going to be. It's the damn middle that really gets me blocked. Then I find for the middle that I do require some basic outline (which I don't force myself to stick to). I guess this is just to help me have plot points that will help me find that path to the ending.

How do you write? Do you prefer an outline or are you a pantser?

14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I couldn't write without an outline - I wouldn't know where I was going! I usually see the ending first and plan my way to get there. I probably craft twenty or more versions of the outline, changing things to make it flow better, before I begin writing. So far it's worked - I've never gotten stuck!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I usually make a vague outline and then go totally off course.

Emma Lauren said...

Pantser and proud of it! The only time I've ever outlined was when it was required in school. I feel too confined to my own words when I outline.

Krista M said...

I've half written an outline, but not finished it and sometimes I will write an outline for a chapter or two, but not the whole story. I'm a pantser. :) In some ways, an outline would really be helpful. But sometimes I just really like seeing where the characters will drive the story. :)

Kristin Rae said...

I'm typically a pantser, but I did an outline with my current WIP and it's saved me. I wrote it chapter by chapter, and even included bits of dialogue that popped into my mind. I allow myself to be flexible with it. It's just a guide of how I originally saw the story going, not the rule book.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I am a bit of both. Like Alex, I need to know where I am going ... to end up. I have the last scene clear in my head before I write.

But as I write, characters twist about, insisting they would respond in ways that at first I did not anticipate. Plot twists occur to me. Neat stuff that adds life, surprise, and zest to my story.

Oh, you have a new follower -- me! Roland

Alleged Author said...

I am usually a pantser, but the newest novel calls for an outline.

Catherine A. Winn said...

I'm a little bit of both. Outline enough to get me on the right track, then the panster takes over and I let myself become surprised!

Sarah Ahiers said...

i'm an outliner. If i tried to do without, i'd get 40K in, then stop. I need to have a general idea of where i'm going, so i can steer the boat that way, so to speak.
But, my outline is literally just a loose list of scenes. Like "MC kisses girl". How they arrive at the kiss grows organically as i write

tfwalsh said...

I could never write without an outline...I'd get stuck and get all freaked out about where to go next... I love doing a lot of brainstorming before I start writing - doing a detailed outline of the general plot. I won't go into too much details as these things come alive as I write...

Emailman said...

I'm a pantser through and through :) I wrote my whole Truth Teller series like this. I did do some outlining on the last half of Unknown Reality, but only to help keep the pace of the story going. The story was already in my head. Pantser is more exciting in my humble opinion.

Lynda R Young said...

I used to be a pantser but found the editing stage really difficult. Now I can't live without my outlines. My characters still tell me where they want to go, they just tell me earlier ;)

siobhan said...

I tried to write my NaNoWriMo story, with an outline, and I couldn't do it. I'm a panster and so I let the character dictate everything before I go back and fine tune it.

Ainsley Shay said...

I'm a total panster -i write every scene (out of order) - then i do my best to quilt them all together - not the best method - but i have a hard time writing in order. BUT...my writing partner constantly does her best to try to change that. So, lately i've been trying out the outlining thing...it's worth a try -right? it must be popular for some reason!!

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