I like to think of myself as somewhere in between plotter and pantser. Whatever that might be.
When I think of a plotter, I think outline. And when I think of an outline, I think every step planned out, leaving no room for creativity.
When I think of pantser, I think of someone sitting down to type/write, letting their creativity flow to create a fabulous story. Sure, and I’ve done this but only when writing a short.
Its fun not knowing where the story may take you, but there are consequences.
My problem with pantsing is that I tend to roam off course. Hard to maintain a heading when I don’t know what direction I’m supposed to go. Sure its fun and can be rewarding, but sometimes the story never ends–think run-on sentence. When writing a short story, the roaming isn’t a large word count. The percentage is still high, but doing several revisions and rewrites will clean it up. But when doing something bigger, there will be huge blocks of wasted time.
First rule of revision, in my mind anyway, is to surgically remove unnecessary scenes. These scenes can, and usually do, contain large word counts that were not moving the story forward, or have gone off on an unrelated tangent. I’m too lazy to repeatedly kill off my darlings, so I found another solution.
All frameworks are specific to the writer; and to do one properly, the I had to think about the story in very general terms.
I start with the shape of the story I want to tell. I have a feeling, small inkling, about the each character of the players, and what they want. I know most of the plot points, but am not sure how to get here. I know the twist in advance, and also keep a list of a few other possibilities–just in case. I know the ending, but only to a degree. When I do my framing, I land up with fist’s full of questions I need to consider as I write. Those questions spur me on.
And I know one other thing. I know the story behind the story.
After all my thinking is done, I’m ready to begin, and I let the panster loose. Sometimes she blows my mind, because the ideas flow so smoothly. Unfortunately, flow is not a constant yet which proves I still have tons to learn about the craft. That’s okay with me. So far, using a framework is the closest I’ve come to feeling like a professional author. I love the results.