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  • nataliejep

Plantsing

There are three types of writers; planners, pantsers, and plantsers. Planners (unsurprisingly) plan their stories before they write them, documenting the story arc or the main turning points in the action. Apparently, some even write backstories for all their characters and fill volumes of pretty notebooks with conflict/goal/motivation exploration.

 

Pantsers sit down and start writing. They usually have an idea of where the story is going, but use the process of writing to explore the story and find its direction. These are the writers who can end up writing 120,000 words for a 60,000 word novel.

 

I’m a Plantser. I plan it to some degree in my head (this is how I pass my bus trips in to work) and only once I feel confident of the end of the story will I start documenting it. I should point out that the end I actually finish up with is often quite different to the one I thought I was working toward. But I can’t start writing unless I know there is an end.

 

In my recent desperation to get writing again, and if I’m honest, an equally heavy measure of self-doubt, I mixed a bit of extra planning into my plantsing recipe, and I think I might ruined my process. I hand-wrote a five-page detailed plan for my short story. Besides having serious cramp in my hand, it now feels like I wrote the story. There’s five poorly written, barely legible pages sitting in a not-pretty notebook which I would never let anyone read, but it feels done.

 

I’m going to force myself to write the full short story. Believe it or not, that’s been quite successful for me in the past when I hit the dreaded 5,000 word mark on a novel, so I’ll try the same technique with this short. The worst that can happen is I get a terrible scratch draft that I might be able to come back and save later. I love future-Natalie, she eats better, exercises more, goes to bed on time and edits broken short stories back to life.   

 

PS Loving the blog that no-one is reading (except, maybe Doug, because he finds this stuff despite my inability to get a SEO crawl. If so, Hi Doug, I owe you a coffee, sorry it’s been so long. 2024 is being a bit of a $#it show, but I’ll get back on track soon). It’s like a diary that can come back to haunt me at any time, so I feel like I need to deliver on what I’m promising.


Beautiful notebooks
My actual Paperblanks notebooks -of which only one has anything written in it.

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