Plotters vs. Pantsers and Real Life

There’s a funny story about a man visiting Iceland and relying only on his GPS to get him places. It’s a long, twisty tale with much hilarity and confusion. Suffice it to say, the guy becomes famous for not following landmarks or maps but his gadget. This not only leads him to the wrong part of the country–it leads him to the wrong part of the country TWICE. It’s not something he probably wanted to become famous for, but there you go.

There’s a saying by Edison, I believe, and it goes something like this:

“Trying the same method twice and expecting different results is insanity.”

Writers don’t do this though…do they?

If I were to try to plot every novel of mine and write down every twist and turn, I would end up the opposite of where you might think: I’d wind up with an unwritten novel. I’ve tried plotting a whole novel, and for me it’s a killjoy. For me, it’s using that faulty GPS, plugging the plot into a formula. I’d arrive nowhere.

Some of us are plotters: our GPS works just fine. Others are pantsers: we write mostly by instinct. Sure there are things every good story needs: redeemable characters that people can relate to, conflict, plot. But it’s not all about how we get there: it’s that we get there.

So if you’re a plotter, I encourage you to try pantsing at least once. If it gets you flustered and you wind up writing trash, I also encourage you to stick with what works for you.

If you’re a panster, I encourage you to do likewise with plotting.

And if you’re not a writer at all, this can apply to other areas in your life. Stop beating your head against the same wall. Try different approaches and do what works for you, even when others tell you their ways are better. Of course this doesn’t apply to every single area in life. There is still right and wrong, truth and lies.

Use discernment. Be wise as serpents. You’ll find your way 😉

Keep your nose in a book,
Beth

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(rough map of the land in which The Goblets Immortal takes place. GPS not included)

 

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As you might have noticed, I’m making progress with a sequel I’m writing for–something. See the progress bar in the right column (the one that is 32% finished.) I’ve been making myself write at least 300 words a day, and that has been working well for the last… *counts on fingers and toes* Ah, the last twenty-seven days (twenty-eight if I get to writing today.) Go me?

Author: bethovermyer

Beth Overmyer wears several hats, all belonging to different writers. From fantastical kidlit to everyday popular fiction, Beth pens her work with gusto. In 2008, her screenplay The Method won best comedy at Gotham Screen’s contest, and in 2012, her MG book In a Pickle came out from MuseItUp Publishing.

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