Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What kind of writer are you, anyways?

Are you a good writer, or a bad writer?

Oh, I'm not a writer at all! (Is what I feel like saying most days when my daughter has been sick and not sleeping, my day job is crazy and driving me to drink, and I'm pretty sure that every word I have ever written is complete and utter crap. Ahem. Anyways).

Seriously, I'm not really talking about being a good or bad writer (we're all here to learn!), I'm talking about how you approach the craft. Every writer does this differently. The most common types of writers are:

Pantsers: Fly by the seat of your pants! Pantsers sit down with not much in mind and just start to write, letting the idea's come to them as they go.

Plotters: Like to know where they are going. Sit down and complete an outline, synopsis, or other type of pathway detailing (either in great detail or not) the major points of their plot and the ending.

Inbetweeners: (hehe, that says weeners! Yes, I'm part of the Beavis and Butthead generation, thanks for asking). Fall somewhere in between a plotter and a pantser. Maybe they have a vague notion of where they want to go with their stories and rely on the muse to get them there when they sit down to write. Maybe they just know part of the big picture and still need to fill in the blanks. Either way, they aren't entirely pantsing it, and they haven't really plotted in great detail either.

Me? I started as a pantser and the more I write, the more I start leaning towards plotting first. It does help to know where you are going when you sit down to write a scene, even if where you are going is something simple like "Main character discovers dead body". That way, you haven't detailed how they find the body (you can leave that part to the muse) but you know where you are heading.

So, what kind of writer are you? Does it work for you? Are you thinking about moving in another direction or adapting the way you write? 


  1. Pantser! Except, I did write the very last scene in my novel early on...then spent pages figuring out how to get there. It was a fun challenge and I honestly didn't know how it would pan out until I got there.

  2. Totally inbetweener (heh, heh...uuuuuhh, heh, heh, heh). I write an outline with bullet points for chapter breaks, but then I stumble across something a character wants to do. And then the outline goes kaploooey.

  3. Jenny - I have heard (or read..) other writers that like to do that, i.e. write the ending first. Out of curiosity, did you have to change/rewrite the ending when you got there?

    Mary - I think that's a good thing! An outline is just outline, subject to change. You should always follow your instincts if you feel things are deviating from your initial intent, you never know where it will lead! (And from experience reading your early draft, I think you have a GREAT grasp of plotting and structure. No worries little monkey!)