One of the old rules of NaNoWriMo is that one shouldn’t sit down and plot before writing. Of course, many people do anyway, and in reality, nobody cares. It’s a month to write lots, basically.
You probably know that whether to plot or not is a huge topic in all writing circles. I like to see it as a spectrum, however, with no plotting at all on one end and plotting every single chapter in detail on the other.
People who plot are called “plotters” while people who don’t plot are called “pantsers”. The pants part refers to the saying “flying by the seat of your pants”.
Neither way is wrong.
The trick is to find out what works for you.
I’m leaning towards not plotting a lot. I do know the starting point, I know a few plot points I want to hit in the middle, and I usually know the climax and ending even before I begin to write. That’s my scaffolding. I build the story around that.
I’ve tried chapter plotting. And a funny thing happens to me when I do that: I lose all interest in even telling the story. That’s because a lot of the fun in writing for me lies in discovering fascinating twists and turns while I write. That means I need the structure to keep a story working, but I also need the room to play with my characters.
On the other hand, I know people who plot in great detail. And it works for them, in fact, it allows them to write the story really fast once they know what’s going to happen. And that is a huge advantage in these days of indie publishing, since it allows them to publish often, and making their fans happy. Not to mention that there are more books to sell.
Check out our podcast with Libbie Hawker about plotting and writing fast here.
My advice is to try it out!
Find that sweet spot on the spectrum!
Discover the level of plotting that works for you. And be prepared for that level of plotting to change when you gain experience, when you are writing a series, or when you’re writing in a genre where stories follow a fairly fixed structure.
Does that mean you need to write a lot? Yes, it does. But then, writing is both art and craft, and you’ll only get better if you practice.
So keep writing away in NaNo, learn more about the craft, and how it works best for you.
And here’s some tapping to help you be more confident in your writing style.
Even though I feel so insecure because I never know how much to plot and how much to just let the story flow, I’m a good writer, and I give myself permission now to find that sweet spot on the spectrum.
Even though I feel I’m not doing it right, no matter how little or how much I plot a story, because there is so much advice out there, I’m still a good writer, and I now allow myself to find out what works best for me.
Even though I want to follow all that advice, but it’s so chaotic that I feel very insecure about how to plot and structure my stories, I’m still a good writer, and I now choose to figure out that sweet spot for myself.
Where are you on the plotting spectrum?
Do you know what works for you best?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what great story are you writing right now?
Would love to hear from you!
Image Source: F. Moebius
PS: Being an indie author is living at the intersection of art and business. It means working with discipline, while being free to create on purpose. It means writing a lot. It also means letting go of limiting beliefs. I can help you to create the mindset you need to flourish as author.
I’d love to do that for you. If that idea appeals to you and you want to learn more, click HERE and send me an email. We’ll decide how I can support you best.
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