One of the questions we are often asked as writers is whether we are pantsers or plotters.
A pantser flies by the seat of their pants.
A plotter meticulously (or not so meticulously) plans out their manuscripts.
You can even take an online quiz to see who you are.
I never know how to answer this question because each manuscript demands a different, individualized approach. But at some point in the process, I need to both plot and pants my way through.
So, I’ve decided I’m a plotser. And no, I’m not referencing the Yiddish word, “plotz”, although I often want to plotz at some point during the writing process.
In my mind, a plotser is someone who falls in between flying by the seat of their pants and actively planning parts of the manuscript.
Anyone who has followed my Quick-Read Crafty Tips or who knows me, knows I LOVE spreadsheets, templates, and graphic organizers. Some might say I think in template, but I also love to see where characters might take me.
I love listening to characters.
I love the unexpected twists and turns along the way.
I also know that at some point, no matter how I initially approached the manuscript, I have to go back to check that I’ve planted seeds for every twist, turn, and event. Otherwise, the events won’t feel organic and seamless.
The “planting seeds” concept struck me quite hard while on the elliptical yesterday. Let me explain…
In order to get my butt to the elliptical, I have shows that I’m only allowed to watch while working out. In the show I’m currently watching, the concept of seed planting leapt off the screen and into my brain. I decided to create a template (I know…shocking!) in order to track the plot twists and subsequent seeds I need to plant.
Here are some examples (I’m not mentioning the name of the TV show so that I don’t spoil it for anyone):
Do you want to try this too? You can find a complete blank template at: https://laurenkerstein.net/critiques%2Ftemplates.
Whether you are a plotter, pantser, plotser, or a plotzer , I hope this chart helps you plant the seeds you need to make your plot twists smooth and organic!
Feel. Write. Risk.