Friday, October 29, 2010

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I admit I can't write very well without some sort of a plan. But I don't use an outline. I use a mind map. I first learned the technique from a Tony Buzan handout in a corporate training course decades ago. I've used the technique ever since, for taking notes, making a shopping list, planning a story.

There is a ton of information online about mind maps and mind mapping programs for computers. Me? I prefer drawing them by hand because I'm a doodler, and in my finer moments, I even use assorted colors. I find it gives me the bones, but still allows me plenty of seat-of-the-pants opportunities. (Example below not mine. Isn't it beautiful?)


How about you? Have you tried plotting this way? How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Leave us a comment!
~~~~

Dani Greer is plotting a number of different projects this week and has a mind map for each one.

Bookmark and Share

23 comments :

  1. Love the evil-looking mind-map critters skittering across the upper right. That, alone, could provide inspiration for my seat-of-the-pants NaNoNoveling. Eeep!!

    If you're not artistic or inclined to shell out the big bucks for a fancy mind-mapping program, there's Freemind. It's a good tool for doing this - and it's free. (Yours LOOKS way cooler, though, Dani!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the "pantser" concept, but makes me sound like a German tank. Then again, tanks make slow, crushing progress...

    I can't write outlines, but I think I do this, except I forget to write it down. Going to try mapping for my next book. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm a mixture. When I work as a pantser, I tend to mindmap, even though I don't draw the pictures normally. I do give a broad mindmap and the go into more and more detail as I go.

    When I outline though, I like to write very detailed outlines.

    How do I choose which to use? I just know. Each story is different. When characters want to take over and run the show then mindmaps work well whereas outlines really don't.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am absolutely, positively a pantser! But that mind-map idea looks intriguing. I might give it a shot and see if it could work for me. Great idea! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Plotter or pantser? Yes. I did the first book pantsy-style. It's my beautifully written piece of crap. I outlined the second book. Got it published (Freezer Burn), woo hoo! The third book started out with a plot and an outline, but at some point in Act 1, I went rogue and pantsed the rest of it. We'll see if anyone else likes it, but I think it turned out pretty well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm generally a plotter, but I'm taking a big plunge into the pantser pool this year for NaNo. We'll see how it goes.

    Regardless of how frustrated I get, I think it'll be fun. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm a plotter and I definitely use mind maps as one of my ways to plan! It's amazing what shows up on my mind map that I didn't even know was in my subconscious. It's great plotting tool!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like the "note-card" approach advocated by Ken Achity in his book _A Writer's Time_. Cards can be arranged on a table like mind maps, arranged and re-arranged in various orders (in time sequence, plot order, theme, etc.), discarded, or just plain shuffled to mix things up and stimulate creative juices. These days I most use virtual notes card on Scrivener, the writers computer program, but I still carry bundles of the real thing in my pocket.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm a pantser! :) I may try plotting for NaNo though...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I outline. Nice neat lists of what's going to happen when make me feel a tad safer. Given that, however, for NaNo I'm planning on just letting it fly and see where it takes me. I've never written without a net before; it could be exciting. Or a disaster. I'll know at the end of November.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm a plotter. I can't write without having the story carefully plotted, and admire people who can.

    My NaNo novel is already plotted.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm caught between. I like to brainstorm, but I never ever want to know everything. :)

    Have a great halloween this weekend and thank you for all you do!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yikes, I can't read a road map, don't ask me to try to read a mind map. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  14. I write mini-outlines. They include short descriptions of the main scenes but leave out most of the detail. This keeps me on track but allows me the freedom to include sub-plots I discover along the way.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I need the big outline - where I'm going and the major points I want to hit. How I get there is pantser. At the revision stage, it's all planning.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great post. That's a method I'll like to try, probably a computerized version, since I don't have anything on paper any more. I always scan my notes junk the paper original. Maybe that's the easiest way to make a mind map >:)

    Cold As Heaven

    ReplyDelete
  17. I tried using the pantser method for two years and never broke 30K words. This year, I finally realized I'm actually a plotter, and I have a feeling I'm going to have a lot more success this time around.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think NaNoWriMo must have this on everybody's mind, because I just commented on this topic at Writing in the Dark.

    I'm a combo. I tend to outline the major plot points and goals for each chapter or section, but I leave the details up to the characters to figure out as they go.

    I love the mind map concept - I'll have to try that sometime. I love to doodle, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow, this topic certainly IS on everyone's mind! Lots of comments and not just here. We're all plotting to tackle NaNo by the seat-of-our-pants. Hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have wanted to get the hang of outlines for so long and yet they're worthless for me. Yes, mindmapping sounds like the way to go for me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've always been a pantser but have started outlining and will see where it takes me. Thanks for passing this along, I think I need to try it!

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...