Should I be a pantster or a planner for my next book? I have written books using both methods. I’m told the books were good in both cases. So, which method should I use?
Mik Murdoch 5 is the next book, in case you were wondering.
I haven’t been doing a lot of writing the past few months. I was busy editing The Goddess Renewed for several months and trying to keep my sanity for several more. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about what the next book(s) should be.
In the case of Mik Murdoch 5, I know what the main plot is and who the characters will be. The problem shows itself when I try to refine the plot. It’s when I try to execute some of the plot elements that I run into many questions. This is where I am faced with the pantster versus planner question the most.
Let me see if I can explain the conundrum.
The problem explained (I hope) – Planner or a Pantster
In my Mik Murdoch series, Mik and two of his friends are wannabe superheroes. That includes having some fledgling superpowers that they neither know the extent of or how to properly use. I need to show them making mistakes with their powers and (hopefully) recover from those mistakes.
But how do I do that? Part of the reason they don’t fully understand their powers is, I don’t fully understand the art of the possible. What is reasonable and what isn’t for pre-teen kids? Should I plan to the nth degree or write scenes and see how they play out?
Which method should I choose?
What seems to make sense – Planner & a Pantster
I actually started writing the book with a plan. After writing slightly more than a chapter, I realized it wasn’t moving fast enough. But the stuff I had written was important to the story.
So, I began writing scenes that I expected to be throw-away. Whatever occurred to me at the time. Not planned at all – total pantster. After writing a couple of those scenes, I could see where they might fit into the (planned) narrative.
Maybe I was onto something. What if I kept the plan I had for the overarching story and just wrote a few scenes off-the-cuff for some of the problems I was facing? See where they took me? I have some scenes planned for a few key places. I can put them where they belong and let the story organically grow around them.
In other words, use both methods.
It’s early yet
I’m still very early writing the first draft. As I have said before, the first draft can suck (to paraphrase others) and the first draft is all about telling the story to myself. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If using both planned and pantster writing gets me through the story, I will count that a win.