in a black and white world, there are two kinds of writers: pantsers and plotters. a plotter is one who prepares plots and characters and scenes and outlines before sitting down to write a new manuscript. a pantser is one who writes by the seat of her pants, diving into the story with nary a thought to who, what, when, where, or why.
in a gray world, most writers fall somewhere in between doing a little bit of plotting before beginning and then jumping in with both feet (err, both hands on the keyboard) to see where the characters lead them. some will write a little, stop, assess, outline and write some more.
there is no right way to write, but rather a personal preference. i used to be a plotter, but after spending many years on the same manuscript, i realized i need some distance. in order to get said room, i’ve started working on something new and with that something new, i decided to write in a new way — pantser’s style.
i’m finding it quite difficult, actually. i’m getting so bogged down with the enormity of the lack of direction i have laid out for this story that i’m going way too in depth with scenes because it’s easier to move laterally instead of forward. i find it’s simpler to layer unnecessary detail after irrelevant detail than take a step in the wrong direction.
but is there really such a thing as the wrong direction?
writers, what do you do in this situation? is there a right way? a wrong way? perhaps should i stop trying to increase the word count and make a quick outline? or should i push forward and let my pants lead me? even if my pants have me doing a thriller style dance while a country twang song is on?
non-writers, what do you think you would do in this situation? perhaps your total objectivity will be of a benefit for me. or perhaps there is a mathematical formula that can solve this problem. what if i ran the quadratic formula of “the end” and then took the square root of that? will that place me somewhere in the middle of my story?