Every writer has a different way of going about producing their stories, but generally speaking we fall into two camps. You’re either someone who plans the story ahead of time, with outlines, brainstorming and perhaps a scene or two already written; or you fly by the seat of your pants and jump into the writing without second guessing your inspiration. Both have their pitfalls but both methods are also effective in getting your novel written. I’ve compiled some pros and cons of both:
- Can help identify the progress of the story ahead of time
- Helps avoid continuity errors in plot and character development
- Provides an outline to follow when writing
- Limits the writer to a predetermined plan
- Can cause creativity problems
- May stall the writer from actually putting pen to paper
- Allows the writer to harness their muse and act on instinct
- Offers the freedom of inspiration and change
- Isn’t bound by rules
- Can easily divert the story into confusing territory
- May lack flow and continuity in plot and characters
- Inspiration can end abruptly
Personally, I plan the story out, but when I get ready to write, I don’t often review my outline. During the writing process, I let inspiration take me away and allow ideas flow as they will instead of restricting myself to the pre-planned outline. However, if I get stuck or confused, I can easily refer to my original plan. It’s a tactic I call, planning pantser.
Which way do you write? What have been the pros and cons you’ve experience using your method?