Monday, May 28, 2018

To plot or not to plot & coming soon...#IWSGPit

As I was watching a movie the other day, Avengers: Infinity War, it made me really appreciate writers that are plotters and not pantsters.

I am a pantster. I write by the 'seat of my pants' each time I sit down. I have no idea where my story will take me or where it will end up. I just have to keep writing.

Plotters are just what you think they are, writers that plan out a plot. I'm sure they're different layers of plotting, too. From writing down your plot on a cocktail napkin to a full- blown storyboard equipped with photos and swatches, circles and arrows, and possibly even colorful post-it notes.

What must it be like for several directors / writers / producers to be able to keep a plethora of Marvel character story-lines all heading in the direction they want when they have their own paths to take and then so many of them interweave with each other and most times even overlap each other in each movie. What a tangled web it must create.

Although I can appreciate the work that goes into being a plotter, it makes me glad that I'm just a pantster. How about you? Do you write moment to moment or are you all about the index cards and thumbtacks?


The next #IWSGPit is Thursday, July 19, 2018! 
8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time 

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 19, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.


Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every hour per manuscript.

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They've certainly planned out the Marvel Universe well.
I have to plot or my stories would wander out into the desert and never return.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL - I'm about timelines and character sheets. It was the only way to juggle five stories following the same characters that overlapped in time.

Juneta key said...

I'm a panster trying to learn to plot a bit to help me actually finish. Can't wait until I have something and can try the twitter pitch parties.

Pat Hatt said...

I have plot points in my head, but that's as far as I go.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Heather. I enjoyed your post about the debate over being a plotter or a pantster. I am a pantster at first with anything I write, at least when I start. I may have a "plot line" of two or three sentences, an overarching idea, but that's it. Usually I have to write a bit before what I want to say becomes clear, and then I become more of a plotter Thanks for all the information on the Twitter Pitch. I won't be participating, but I appreciate all the effort that goes into setting up this opportunity for IWSG members and the opportunity itself. Good luck with the Twitter Pitch.

Roland Clarke said...

I'm a plotter that gets diverted by my characters - especially when they want another victim. Whether my current WIP mystery in finished in time for the Twitter pitch depends on real life - but I might plot it into my schedule. Thanks, Heather.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Alex - I can't imagine how they keep track of everything! Some massive Wargames computer, perhaps? :)

L. Diane - I've never been able to come up w/ character sheets, but its a great idea.

Juneta - I wonder what they call a mix of the two? :)

Pat - Nothing wrong with that!

Fundy Blue - Plot lines sound like a good start!

Roland - You have to listen to your characters!


Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Heather,

My first two books and several short stories I wrote as a pantster! Now I am writing a memoir. Not my own, but someone else's. SO for this I am plotting. But not crazy. Just an outline of the stories and their time frame. I still have some creative panstering, but it is followed in a loose outline.

I actually like writing this way ... with a loose outline. This way there is some basis.... but as a pantster, the characters may take over and plan on something else. We shall see....

Yay for another twitter pitch! It is a great way to reach out to publishers and agents. I was asked by a few agents and publisher to submit my stories, but sadly they passed, but I am hopeful for the next one. At least I know my pitches are working!

Mirka Breen said...

You got me at a tender moment. I'm a plotter through and through who is seriously considering panstering my next MG. But boy, jumping without my net is scary.

Christine Rains said...

I'm a pantser too. I love the surprise of how the twists and turns come and exploring the story as it unfolds.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I rarely pant. Mostly plot. With that said, I know that my planning may take a back seat if something cool comes on the page that I didn't plan.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Michael - Good luck on the memoir! That sounds challenging. Keep sending out those pitches!

Mirka - It really is scary, but the only way I know how to do it! Best of luck!

Christine - And you've had some great twists and turns!

T. Powell - Nothing wrong w/ a mix of the two, right?! :)

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I use to be a pantser but I'm a plotter now and it helps me write faster. I go off script a lot but I get to the end quicker.

Sherry Ellis said...

I'm definitely a plotter. I take extensive notes, make outlines, create character family trees, and make idea boards. It gets a little crazy sometimes, but I need to know where the story is going, or I won't finish it.

Michelle Wallace said...

Somewhere in between, I think.
I'm a pantser when it comes to flash fiction.
But for longer projects, there has to be some sort of structure.