Sunday, 18 March 2012

Plotter or Pantser: A Visual Representation of My WIP

For some things, I tend to be more visually oriented. So, I thought it would be interesting amusing to try to draw a visual representation of my wip, from the initial idea to an almost 400pg ms. I came up with these 4 steps:

Note: You are about to witness the extent of my artistic prowess. No laughing. (;

Step 1 : The idea.

This is how the idea of my wip presented itself one day in my brain. As you can see it’s a mess.

Step 2: Filling in the holes and transferring the jumbled mess onto paper.

 Each color represents pieces of the story on paper: plot, characters, scenes, dialogue, mood.... And as you can see, it's all over the place and I jump around a lot.

Step 3. Pulling out the storyline.

As more holes fill in, I’m able to start pulling out segments of a storyline. Yeah!
Step 4. Voilà

With all the holes finally filled in, the storyline takes shape, and I have the first draft of my ms. *insert happy face here*
As you can see, I'm a  pantser to a high degree. When I'm at step 2, I can be anywhere in the story and don't have a predetermined start off point (eg, the beginning). I’m pretty much dictated by my inspiration and the story drives me, not the other way around. Though I've tried being in the drivers seat by doing some plotting, I've even tried outlines, 5 foot long timeline sheets, step sheets, flash cards... but, I always end up throwing in the towel. They’re so time consuming for me and in my experience, get in the way of the muse.

What about you - plotter or pantser?


  1. That's a great representation of your writing process! I wish, however, you had drawn one for the bit between step 3 and 4, too, because that's where I always struggle :)

    1. I guess I could have added a drawing of something that resembled puzzle piece assembly, but that would require greater artistic talent of which I don't have. (:
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Love the visual examples of your progress! Awesome!!!
    I'd have to say I'm a noncommittal hybrid. I do a little of both. ; )

    1. Thanks Melissa. If I could choose, I'd want to be a hybrid too, sounds like the best of both worlds. I think I'm too much on the panster side and I really need to focus more on being more structured. (;

  3. I really like this idea. (Had to google what a panster was btw) I've tried mind mapping to make me see where I am going with an idea/story but it gets out of control. Using simple colours could make the process more streamlined. Good Work!

    1. Hi Clay, thanks for stopping by. I can see how mind mapping could quickly get out of hand especially with a complex storyline. Not sure if my method works yet. I guess I'll find out if I ever get the darn book finished!


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