Planner or Pantser

In a time honored tradition… I will be the first to ask:

Are you planning or pantsing it in 2019?


First drafts get pantsed. Subsequent revisions are planned. More or less, anyway.


I’d say…plantsing*. I don’t usually write outlines or such, but I do think up things in my head. I have a general idea of where the story is going to go, some of the stops along the way, and I figure out the rest as I go. Sometimes the train stops at the designated stops, other times it goes totally off the rails.

*“Plantsing” (as in “plant-sing”) would be a cool name for a novel.


I’m a plantser. I outline, but not the every-scene-in-detail sort of outline, and I don’t strictly follow it. My outlines are more like guidelines.

But I’m going to be a rebel this November, working on a second draft, so who knows. Maybe I’ll stick to the outline more solidly. Or not, since this outline is going to be seriously revised – there’s a lot in the first draft that just didn’t work out or otherwise needs to go/be changed/added/etc.

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I’ll probably be a planster, if I can get into the writing mood before next November. It’s something I’ve done in the past, and probably something I’ll do years from now.

I’m a plantser too, in the sense that I like the idea of planning and structure, but in practice I tend to figure out much more about my story in the phase where I’m actually writing, because I’m bad at reigning in my characters and because I always feel like I’m forcing it if I sit down to specifically plan things out. I’ve found myself updating and rewriting entire chunks of plotlines and characters because they seem to have a mind of their own - sometimes those changes turn out to be much better and more engaging than what I’d originally planned, but not always.

I’m working on finding a way of outlining and planning that works for me, though! I’m experimenting with it this Camp, while November’s still a bit away, in hopes that come November I’ll have a genuine grasp on not only what I want to write, but where I want it to go as well, so I don’t go entirely astray and flounder the whole middle part only to end up with an out-of-control ending.

… That said, pantsing is irresistable in a way. I love seeing where my subconscious hitchhikes off to, even if it means sudden plot twists I have to deal with when editing time eventually rolls in. Sure, pantsing sometimes leads down a lot of rabbit holes that leave a lot to be desired structure-wise, but I’ve also discovered a lot of good ideas for my future writing through pantsing, which is part of what keeps me coming back here for more. I do want to make 2019 the year where I get better at plotting and keeping my story more or less on its rails, so here’s hoping I can find a way plot things out in a way that doesn’t lead to me throwing my previous outline out the window thrice a week!


I’m joining the planster club - I usually have my main plot figured out and main characters that tie into it have some shape, but my outline is rather bare bones and once the writing ball gets rolling, everything pre-planned turns more into a suggestion than anything else. :smiley:

Though for 2019, I plan to have a look more on the planner side for once, cause I’m planning to write sci-fi and doing some more research beforehand should hopefully be helpful in not completely botching the first week word counts. We’ll see how that works out.


I’m very much a confirmed plantser. (I used to consider myself a pantser, but given I usually have at last a general idea of where the story is going, and sometimes have scenes that I want to get in, as soon as the “plantser” category came up, I put myself in that!)

I find that I can’t be a full out planner, because if I outline a story, my brain goes, “Okay, you’ve written the story. Bye!” (I tried. I tried hard. But it doesn’t work.)

So yes, plantsing for me!


Like most people here, it seems, I fall right in the middle. Before beginning any story, I write an outline of plot points. Basically it’s a “here’s how the story is playing in my head right now” sort of outline. My characters always (seriously, it never fails!) tear that outline up and do their own thing and, surprisingly, it always seems to work. The story gets so off-track from the outline in the middle, but always makes it to the final plot point as originally planned.

I need that initial outline, though. I’ve tried writing stories without an outline and they always ramble on and on…and then they die because the plot went nowhere. I need that structure to make anything out of my stories.

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Honestly, I’ve been so busy preparing for my ML duties for 2019 I haven’t given much thought to my actual project yet. I usually at least know whether I’m going to do an original story or fanfiction by this point.

Usually I’m planster who falls more to the planner side of things when it’s fanfiction. I have a thing about not destroying established canon just for the for the sake of a story. It’s one the reasons I literally have a 400+ page ebook on my Kindle that details established canon of Monster High and Ever After High. Where they destroy their own canon it also contains a lot of theories to explain some of it. :slight_smile:

For an original work I’m more likely to pants it with just a basic outline. I’ll still do research to make sure I don’t totally screw up basic things, but beyond that I’ll mostly let the story go where the characters want it to.

The notable exceptions to the above were two stories I did back to back that were fictionalized biographies of a young lady who was a member of my region in 2015 and 2016 who, sadly, took her own life back in 2016. Those stories had a lot of research in them and were carefully planned out as they were based a great deal on information I received directly from her and her father.


I joined the plantser club a couple of years ago. I, like you, usually have a basic plot line figured out and the basics of the main characters. Then everything starts fleshing out as I write. It’s not always easy but I have to say that I love the freedom to change things as I go. I don’t like being locked into an outline (in my own mind at least). I do understand that everyone has their own way of doing things. And being a plantser is not for everyone.
I think the main point is just that we’re all here and having fun as we write and support each other.


I’m pretty hardcore planner usually, sometimes just moderate planner but i really can’t write when i don’t have at least some plot points ahead. Years ago when i just started writing i was totally pantsing bc i thought that’s how you write books and usually failed somewhere between 10 and 50k. Now i’m trying out new planning techniques: last NaNo i was going with KM Weiland’s take on three act format, and this year i’m going to test Sanderson’s method with writing down several plot points that are important in the story and then bullet pointing what other events i need for them to happen.
Usually when writing fanfiction i tend to be a bit more in the pantser spectrum, but still i have a pretty good picture of events i’m going for, i just don’t write them down or try to fit any structure. I know it’s a bit unfair to the readers but i just don’t want to put as much work in fics as i do in original work and i treat them more like a testing ground. Rn i’m trying out pretty hardcore take on unreliable narrator, or more like straight-out-lying narrator and it’s fun.


I always pants it. I think writing an entire outline would make me feel like I’ve already written it, but I haven’t tried it. never needed to.


Oof. I’ve always been a pantser with the occasional plantser tendency, but this year I kind of want to try planning? Like, actual planning. Not just “here is a vague outline”. I’ve been doing NaNo enough years that I know perfectly well straight pantsing does not result in usable work for me. I can win, sure, but it’s a mess. Yet I keep doing it! So this year I’d like to try to go whole-hog and actually plan, and see how that goes.

The past couple years I’ve done a vague outline, but frankly in both cases, the plot was very weak. I wrote down some plot points but didn’t adequately support them or link them together, so the resulting stories just thrashed around a lot. I think if I take the time to write something more cohesive, I might get a better result. We’ll see! I still refuse to do a snowflake outline, though.


I’ve been trending toward plantser these last few years, but this year’s project is Book 2 of a trilogy I started last year. As such, I already have a pretty good plan of the plot, characters, and setting. I just have to get back into it to let the creativity flow :grimacing:

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I’m a hardcore planner. I’ve found the more detail I plan, the faster I can write. And, I’m learning that I need fewer major revisions when I have stuff laid out ahead of time.

But that also means I need to schedule as much time to plan as I do to write, so that’s a thing. I don’t mind it, but it’s something I have to take into account.


Snowflake outline is so bad tbh :laughing: I did it several times bc that was one of the first planning method i found in my native language and it was a one big mess. Like first few steps could be moderately useful but later you end up writing the same things again and again and it makes so little sense. Idk maybe someone there uses snowflake successfully, but for me it’s always a complete trainwreck.


I’m exactly like this.

I have to have a very solid foundation for my plot because I DO. NOT. like to revise. I want my first draft to be as close to the finished version as possible. I took a page out of Anne Rice’s book when it comes to writing (harrharr). She has long said that she doesnt like to edit. Each sentence is carefully crafted to fit and the plot remains the same.

The only time I find myself going off track is when my characters have minds of their own and start making autonomous decisions lol. But when that happens and I write myself into a corner, I can almost always go back to one questionable paragraph that threw it off. (which is actually something I want to open another thread about in plot doctoring!)



This is exactly how I feel! I know there’s people out there who can use it because it has a lot of supporters, but… it’s very repetitive for me. Very “write this. Now write it again but with slightly more detail. Now again with even more detail. Now again with even MORE detail.” And at a certain point I’m like, I just want to write the story, thanks!

Also it has a bunch of character-sheet-style planning, which is not my thing at all. I have literally never written a story where a character’s astrological sign and favorite quote was of any relevance…


Still haven’t given any thought to my 19 Nano (still wrapping up Camp over here), but I’m just going make a prediction based on all my previous Nanos: Plantser all the way!

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