Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Moot Argument: Pantsing and Plotting

Should you pants it? Should you plot it?

I've seen that argument over and over, I've even indulged in it myself. Now I think it's a moot argument.

See, either way you put in the same work. Here's the reality.


  • Draft
  • Plot
  • Develop Characters
  • Revise
  • Revise
  • Revise

  • Plot
  • Develop Characters
  • Draft
  • Revise
  • Revise
  • Revise
Do you see it? All I did was re-order the process. There is no reduction or increase in the work! In fact, you can even go further and insert those three Revise steps in different locations. For instance, this is closer to my actual process:

 Eric's Process

  • Draft
  • Revise
  • Develop Characters
  • Revise
  • Plot
  • Revise
I tend to revise as I go. You may increase or decrease those Revise steps, but certainly you'll never find a short-cut! Not for a well-written and understandable body of work. If you go through fewer than THREE deep revisions, it is probably an under-written book.

What are your thoughts? I really don't care, because your opinion is moot, as I just pointed out, but I ask out of courtesy.

- Eric


Loralie Hall said...

"I really don't care, because your opinion is moot" That's like the most brilliant tag line ever. It needs to be a bumper sticker.

I dunno. I get an idea and eventually it becomes a story. But I think you make a good point ^_^

curious_girl said...

"I dunno. I get an idea and eventually it becomes a story. But I think you make a good point ^_^ "

What she said. xD

Cynthia Lee said...

I make an attempt to plot.

Then I end up pantsing it.



Raquel Byrnes said...

I like to think of myself as a plantser...a little of both. Not that you care. ;)
Edge of Your Seat Romance

L. Diane Wolfe said...

State your opinion - it doesn't matter anyway - LOL!
I develop characters first, then the outline. I've seen a lot of pantsers moan about making major changes in their manuscript though, and that's something I've never had to do.
LOL - not that you care though!

Unknown said...

Eric, you're hilarious!

I do neither (Not that you care, as Diane Wolfe has pointed out lol).

I grope in the dark, catch hold of a character, and make him/her do stuff. Or I catch hold of an ending and then go groping for the rest of the story.

The main thing is, I need to Feel the story, even when I'm making a point-by-point list of how it is going to go!

dolorah said...

I usually develop a character, then a plot, then several revisions. I revise as I go too; and then revise some more. I've often thought plotters and pantsters pretty much work the same way, as you pointed out so hilariously.

Good post Eric :)

Have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

Since you asked...oh, wait, you didn't really, not in the yeah-I-want-to-know kind of way, just in the I'm-going-to-be-nice-so-you-keep-reading-my-blog kind of way..nice post.

hugs from a pantster~