Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pantser, Planner, Plotter, Plunger


We've been called Panters by many – now we've been dubbed Plungers by the less than generous Plotters and Planners crowd.

Call me sensitive, but I find both of those terms somewhat demeaning. Just because I don't outline doesn't mean I don't plot and plan. I do that as I write rather than spending time on it before hand.

A recent article – the one that called us Plungers – said that Plungers and Pantsers are slower authors because we don't plan, plot and outline. We're disorganized, our method is slower and less directed. We are, therefore, less efficient authors.

Oh, really? For the last six years, I've participated in the NaNoWriMo challenge and I always finish. Not only do I complete my novels in less than 30 days, I have a first draft that's very close to a last draft. It needs a few passes by me and an editor, but plot, dialogue and characterization are fully developed. There aren't even very many typos or grammatical errors because I catch that as I go along.

As a matter of fact, I finished my NaNo Novel extra early one year, just before Thanksgiving. That afternoon, I got an idea and wrote an additional novel– 54,129 words, start to finish – in four days. But, how can that be? My unplanned approach is slower and less efficient. I'm surely prone to errors because I don't plot and plan before I begin writing. Good to know I'm not laboring under the misconception that I can never finish a novel and require inordinate amounts of time to edit because I didn't get it right on the first pass.

I prefer to put my creative energy into writing the actual book – NOT the outline. I like to do my research as I go – NOT spend a year on it before writing the first word.
Do I think Plotting and Planning is a bad way to approach our craft? No. It simply isn't my way. So, why do Plotters and Planners insult my approach, giving it derogatory names? Do they feel threatened? Is it word count envy? I'd really like to know. I don't belittle or denigrate your style. I'd appreciate it if you would show me the same respect.

As for being called a Pantser or Plunger – no thanks. I don't appreciate the imagery those names evoke. I prefer the term Spontaneous – because that's what I am.
~ Dellani Oakes – Spontaneous Author

On a side note, I finished THIS year's NaNoWriMo novel in the first week of November. That's right, 50,230 words in 7 days. Who's the slow poke now?

© Dellani Oakes

Look for Dellani's books - Indian Summer, The Ninja Tattoo, Lone Wolf, Shakazhan, Under the Western Sky and Conduct Unbecoming, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or at TirgeaerrPublishing and Second Wind Publishing.


S.L. Bartlett said...

It's odd you put this article up now, considering my co-author and I are starting on Book 2 of the Sons of Liberty series. We use a really brief outline, but we like our creativity to come out where ever the story takes us. I also have the book mostly written in my head, although at times, the characters disagree with me.
Great article, Dellani.

Dellani Oakes said...

Hi, S.L. I just saw this comment! I think it's great that you're working on book 2. I hope it's going well.

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