Pantsing vs Plotting – a more personal view

 If you’ve read To Plot or Not To Plot or To Plot or Not To Plot Part II, you have a feel for my general view on plotting vs pantsing.

However, the reasons I give in those posts tend to be generic arguments that apply to most people, the kind of thing you will probably hear a lot whenever this debate comes up.

Today I’d like to add one more reason I’m in favor of plotting, a more personal reason that may not apply to anyone else in the world but me.  🙂

First, know that I would pay good money *not* to be a main character in one of my novels.  My main characters never have an easy go of it.  They lose people they cherish, they get beat down and have to get back up again…and again…and again…  I don’t know if I have ever written a story that I would actually want to be in.

Second, I get pretty involved when I write.  I was working on a scene for The Lost Concerto last night that drove this home to me.  This particular event had been planned since before my pen ever touched the paper for the first word of this book.  I had known it was coming since the very beginning, no surprises here.

And yet, when I wrote the scene, I got totally worked up.  My main character was freaking out, completely losing it over this thing that had happened–and I found that by the time I put my pen down, so was I.  Whoever believes writing is easy doesn’t write like I do.  For my characters to feel anything, I have to feel it first.  That can put a person through the wringer.

And that is why I prefer plotting.  My characters walk through hell, and that means I have to walk through hell with them.  I don’t know if I would stick through that, without knowing for certain that in the end there would be a resolution that would make everything worth it.  And for me, the best way to be certain is to find that resolution up-front, before I even start writing, and hang on to it like a talisman while I ride the rocket-sled to hell with my characters.

That doesn’t always mean the resolution I had in mind will be what actually happens at the end–even with the best plotting, things will change while you’re writing.  But for me, it serves its purpose–which is getting me through to the end to find out what the resolution really will be.

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2 responses to “Pantsing vs Plotting – a more personal view

  1. Hi Sandra
    This blog is so interesting. I’m also a writer, although if you look at my ‘About’ page, you’ll see I’ve focused my writing on theatre and film. But I’ve just finished my first novel so I am looking for a publisher. Thanks!

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