If you, like me, spend a lot of perfectly good time reading author, editor, and agent blogs, then you may have heard that writers fall into two camps: plotters and pantsers.
Let me stop there. I really can’t go on until I complain about what terrible, awful names these are. “Plotter,” which makes it sound like Dr. Doom is penning his memoirs, is actually the better of the two. I won’t dignify “pantser” with an analysis. Do I have a better suggestion? No, I do not. This is full-on First Amendment non-constructive criticism, right here. But honestly. Pantser? Pantser? We asked a community of people for whom picking words is a job to name a subset of themselves, and they turn trousers into a verb?
The names are about how you plan your book before you write it. Plotters outline the plot first, whereas pantsers jump into the first draft without knowing quite where it’s all headed – writing by the seat of their pants, as it were. (Outliners and freestylers, I’m going to call them from now on, even though those names are lame too, because honestly.)
A lot of writers – the majority, from what I can gather – are freestylers. Isaac Asimov knew his beginning and his ending when he started a book, but nothing else. Stephen King doesn’t even know his endings ahead of time. To me, that’s inconceivable. I have to know exactly where everything is going before I go anywhere.
That choice has serious implications for how the books turn out, but I’m running out of time. I’ll continue this on Monday. Happy weekend, everybody.