Planner or Pantser – Which Writing Process is the Most Effective? – The Writers’ Podcast, Ep 02

planner pantser pod

Today, we take on the highly debated subject of writing a novel through “pantsing” or “planning” and consider the benefits and drawbacks of each.

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9 comments

  1. Another excellent post. I like the idea that the pantsers actually don’t take any longer than the planners (plotters, lol) by the time all the outlining is factored in.

  2. I always liked George RR Martin’s version, architect and gardener. George isn’t a true pantser, he has tons of notes and plans he is more of a gardener as in he has a plan and yet he leaves himself room to explore. He ends up being more of a hybrid, like Raymond.

    Stephen King is a more pure pantser as he believes you should write a book in three months. Of course when you are as prolific and you have been at it as long as him…

    As far as who is faster you do have a notes phase for planners like S.K said and then you have the writing. Brandon Sanderson actually does about 100k words of planning before he starts writing. Pantsers do get to write straight off, but they also rewrite a lot so they end up going back after a few chapters and editing the crap out of their words or just deleting and starting over. It is more common for pantsers to not finish their books.

    For me I write in my head before I write the actual words. I do mental notes for a few months then I start writing.

    The great equalizer is revisions. In revisions a pantser often has to bring order to their writing and a planner often has to take out the stiffness. You end up, like Raymond said, not really being able to tell much difference in most cases.

    Of course revision can be a problem as well. Take Patrick Rothfuss, he is an outliner(another word for Planner) and yet when he got to the revision stage he became notorious for rewriting. In fact he had all three books written before he ever published his first and yet the third book is still not out ten years later.

    Another great podcast. I’m really enjoying these. Can’t wait for the next one.

    (Also Raymond don’t feel bad I didn’t plan out my A-Z either. It was a nightmare towards the end.)

    1. Brandon – All really good points and examples. I found the biggest take-away to be that often, as writers, we get locked into a mentality of “I’ve never done it like that before.” Just because we learned one way of doing something and it feels like it works, we should try new approaches- you never know what it might unlock…yeah A to Z…never again lol

  3. Great installment!

    I’m a pantser who appreciates the organization of prepping! (Another word is thrown into the mix!) 😀

    I didn’t complete NaNo on my first two tries. I was more than 30K in on both…and my brain seized up and nothing made sense! LOL! I joined a very supportive writing group and learned prepping didn’t necessarily mean bulleted points with a full list of scenes – or a chapter with three sub-chapters! 😀 I sketched out my characters and made an outline of what could happen in the beginning/middle/end. Added a tagline and a logline and I was off and running. I completed NaNo that year four days early at 64K. If only editing was as easy as writing! UGH! 😀

    Prep work has its good points and a writer can definitely benefit from at least establishing a tone. But, I have to agree with SK – for me, plotting seems too clinical and dry… and stifling. Sorry, Raymond. 😉

    1. Agreeing with SK means “no cookies for you” lol. See now I can live with Prepper more than Plotter. Although it does sound like you did some “prepping” on that Nano novel lol.

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