The Art of Plotting

Are you a plotter, or a pantser, or perhaps a mix of both?

Do you have pages and pages of handwritten notes, intricately drawn maps, an entire Scrivener document, a pinterest full of pages?

Do you have nothing but your imagination and your chosen writing medium?

Did you used to be one, but change to the other? Was it a gradual change, or did it happen overnight? Was it deliberate, or something that occurred naturally?

If I’ve learnt nothing else from my time as a writing blogger, a writer, and a NaNoWriMo participant, it’s that everyone approaches plotting differently, and that’s ok.

There’s no rule to plotting.  You don’t even have to plot at all if you choose not to.

I myself started as a pantser.  Well, an accidental pantser.  I didn’t actually realise I was going to write a novel, it just sort of happened (I didn’t have a lot of friends back in 2007/2008).  Now the idea of writing without some kind of basic plot makes me VERY nervous indeed (although I would like to try it again one day just to see what happens).  I’ve tried quite a few plotting techniques, some I’ve loved, some  I’ve hated, and some I’ve had absolutely no opinions on whatsoever.

The snowflaking technique is pretty popular in the AdelNaNo region. I used it for last year’s NaNo, and definitely found it helpful.  The basic idea is that you keep expanding: start with a sentence to describe your novel, then a paragraph (4 sentences), then 4 paragraphs, and so on and so forth. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get past the 4 paragraphs stage because that was all I needed.

I don’t know what plotting technique I’ll use this year.  I like to start with describing my novel in one word, three words, ten words, and a paragraph.  I just find it helps me work out what my story is really about.  From there, I don’t really follow a rule.  My plotting is pretty relaxed, especially considering I know an unexpected character will undoubtedly pop up at some stage of writing and change everything (side note: please let me know if this happens to you as well).

If you’re interested in seeing my one word, three word, ten word, and paragraph summaries of my NaNo novel (as well as the big reveal of which novel I’ve decided to focus on) pop back tomorrow for WIPpet Wednesday!

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Plotting

  1. I’m a plotter! I tried the snowflake method, but it wasn’t enough. I have a pile of note cards ready for this NaNo. My characters are always changing things on me. My novel for this year was originally planned as a short story. The characters disagreed.

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