Planster 4 Lyfe

Orange background that says Planster 4 lyfe

Sorry friends for the late post. I have two writing projects due this week so everything takes a backseat.

There are three types of writers: plotters, pansters, and plansters. A plotter plots out their stories, pansters write by the seat of their pants, and plansters are a combination of both.

I’m a planster.

In the past it would begin with having an idea and writing the story as it came to me (pantsing) but eventually at 5,000 or even 10,000 words, I’d stop. I could visualize the story in my head but I would get paralyzed and not continue with the writing.

This is why I rarely finish stories!

I knew if I wanted to write stories (shorts, novellas, novels, etc), I had to find a new writing system but I didn’t think of myself as a plotter. Shit changes on the fly in my brain and I didn’t think that keeping an outline would be useful for that very reason. Oh, silly Scarlet. How little do you know!

In several writing communities I’m in, the word “plantster” started to surface. It was a happy medium for those who straddle the pantster and plotter lives. Around this same time, I got turned onto Plottr (not an affiliate link). Plottr is software to help you not only outline your stories but also help flesh out locations, scenes, and characters. I bought a subscription (It was cheap at $35/year) and than sat on it for six months. I decided that I needed to use it or lose it, so I sat in on a webinar to use Plottr, and wow, I had no idea it was that powerful and how easy it could be to plot a story.

I created my own Plottr file as a reference point while following along with the webinar and it’s been super helpful. Now granted I won’t have dozens of people helping me plot my story but that’s okay. I learned enough to do it on my own. I started Going Crazy using Plottr and it helped flesh out characters and locations as well as the story. But, and this is a big but, the actual writing is done pantsing. Many plot points have changed since I’m in heavy editing phase for a contest (due tomorrow!) but the gist of the story has remained.

Yesterday, I wrote Love in the Time of Cherry Season, an 8,000 word story in one day and completely pantsed it. I had the opening line (hook) and away I went. (It took me eight solid hours to write the short story with a few breaks in between.) With Love in the Time of Cherry Season, I saw the actions of the characters as the story moved along so the writing was actually easy. Will every story have this kind of ease in pantsing? Probably not but at least I know I can do it.

Knowing I can be a planster has taken a lot of pressure off my brain. I know that I’m capable of getting a basic outline done to follow but also giving myself room to breathe if all doesn’t’ go according to plan.