This week's question for the Blog Hop is: Are you a plotter or a panster? Do you plot your stories ahead of writing? Or do you write and see what happens? (Writing “by the seat of your pants”.) Why do you work that way? What are the benefits ...and drawbacks?
I am and always have been a panster. I know my hero and heroine and the beginning and end of the story and what happens in the middle is as much a surprise to me as it is to my readers. I work that way because it works for me. At one of our RWA local chapter meetings, the speaker suggested if we never tried plotting a story to try it. She suggested we write a synopsis and then plot out each chapter.
I figured what the heck. I've never done it, but I'll try almost anything once. The speaker (and several other members - plotters- all agreed that was the way to write. According to them, you wrote a better story. So I sat down and wrote a synopsis and plotted out my story and then I sat down to write.
It went well for while, but then I hit a snag. The story was stuck. My hero and heroine wouldn't talk to me. I couldn't move the story forward. I was seriously blocked. Every day I opened the program and stared at the screen. I read and reread what I had already written - I always do that to refresh my memory. Then I stared at the screen. I knew what was supposed to happen next, but for some reason it didn't work.
No matter what I did, I couldn't write the next sentence. So I did what I usually do when I'm blocked. I moved on to something else. I revised an old story and submitted it. Then I came back to this one. Nothing, nada. The characters wouldn't speak to me. So again, I found an old story, expanded and revised it and submitted it too.
This went on for over two years. I just couldn't make happen what was supposed to happen. About six months ago, I was emailing my writing buddy and ranting about this story and how frustrated I was. Suddenly in the course of composing the email, I started asking what if. What if this happened or what if my heroine did this or my hero did that and walla - the story started to move forward. I put the synopsis and plot outline out of my mind - at least for the most part - and the story went off in a whole differrent direction. I even introduced a new character.
I'm still not finished with it, but at least it's going forward now.
I can guarantee I'll never plot another story, nor will I write a synopsis first. No thanks, for me it doesn't work. Maybe there's benefits to it, but I benefit better by letting my characters guide me. Are there drawbacks to writing this way? I haven't found any. Being a panster works for me.