Writing is an essential part of life. If there weren’t writers out there, there would be no stories, no blogs and no newspaper articles. Any words, actually. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit.
The incoming adjective is what is like to be a hybrid Pantser/Plotter.
Yes, that is correct. I’m a combination of the two which is not always ideal. Though, it depends on the individual.
As a hybrid Pantser/Plotter, I have found that half planning something often can help. I often only play along with half of the rules.
Before we can start, it is essential to understand what these terms describe.
What is a pantser? What is a plotter? Okay, it is now two separate questions.
Meet… the Pantser
Ever not thought something through and subsequently gone ahead and done whatever anyway? Yep, that is the definition of a true pantser.
Firstly, a pantser goes into their story without any form of plan and just writes.
However, I often have a plan laid out, but it gets a bit… jumbled at the best of times.
There are famous authors out there that are pantsers.
Chuck Wendig, the author behind various Star Wars novels such as Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars: Aftermath Life Debt is a reformed pantser.
Another famous pantser might be surprising. Stephen King. Yep, that’s right. The renowned king of horror is a pantser. It could be the reason why his stories are so successful. Not to mention, turned into films.
Meet… the Plotter
Onto the second half of the equation.
A Plotter is a writer who writes an entire plan for their story before they launch into it. This basically means that they write the entire plot for the story, the characters and their backstories, the locations and anything else that goes with the story.
I often write a few little notes about the characters and maybe, a plot breakdown which is ideal when writing a screenplay since it keeps the story the way that desires it.
One of the world’s greatest plotters is the creator of Harry Potter herself, J.K. Rowling.
Fans started the Harry Potter Wiki. It has pages upon pages of information that fans have gathered over the years from information given by Rowling herself and from the books. The website also contains information from the films and the spinoff film franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Pottermore was a set up for fans to experience information about the beloved series in a new way. Fans can create an account and follow the story, they can gain their own wand and get sorted into the Hogwarts houses and that of the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the American magic school that Fantastic Beast characters Tina and Queenie Goldstein attended in their youth.
What Do I Do?
Now to explain the point of this post. When I begin a fiction-based writing project, I often write a breakdown of the story I wish to tell, despite understanding that the story will change when I begin writing.
When I begin writing, all vital notes end up added to character templates, etc. as I add to the story. This continues as the story gains ground and detail gets added.
This is often handy to carry out ideas often expand or change over time. I also keep notebooks for the various stories that I write.
Breaking the Cycle
Yes. There is a way of breaking the hybrid cycle. Select a side. It is okay if the in-between is selected.
I carry pride in being a hybrid pantser/plotter. There is nothing wrong with it. If you a only plan out work to the halfway point, it is perfectly alright. There is no right or wrong way to write. I stopped following the so-called rules forever ago. I will never play by the rules and I don’t intend to. Ever.
Therefore, no one writing style is the right one. Same goes for the pantser/plotter dilemma. Each is successful in its own right. If King, Rowling and Wendig could become successful, regardless if they were pantsers or plotters, so can us normal people.
Everyone has to start somewhere, even the famous people in the world.