When I started writing, I never plotted a thing. I would just get an idea in my head and start writing. Of course, I was never able to finish anything, either. I started so many stories that I never finished it wasn’t funny. I’d get about thirty pages in or so and it would all fall apart on me. I was aggravated because I could never get anywhere with my writing. This went on for years. Then finally, one day, I got an idea and sat down and plotted it out. Eureka! This was a breakthrough for me. I started writing and got to page thirty. No problems, I kept going. I reached page forty, then fifty, and sixty. I still kept going. Finally, I finished the whole book. I was thrilled. It was the first time in my life that I’d actually finished a story.
Since that time, I’ve written several more complete books. Every one of those times, I’ve plotted the story before I wrote it. I was afraid to try writing without plotting it first. Years of experience have told me that I couldn’t do it.
When I plot, I don’t go into huge amounts of details. I usually just write one sentence summary of each scene. It all fits onto one page. I know there are about as many differences between plotters as there are between plotters and pantsers. Some people go into huge amounts of details when they’re plotting. Some write it out in paragraph form and can write pages and pages about their story before they ever start writing the actual book. I don’t go into this much detail, but I do have to have something to guide me as I write the book.
I’m still learning and I’m starting to wonder if the reason I wasn’t able to finish those early stories is because I didn’t know what I was doing. Maybe because I didn’t know how to structure the story is the reason that I failed. I’m still not perfect at it, but I am better. I’ve even considered trying again, just to see what happens.
I’ve got a new story running around in my head right now that I’m considering trying it out on. I really want this story to be good though, so I’m a little nervous about doing it. But at least I know that if I get stuck, I can always go back and plot it out later.
What do you think? Have you tried both methods in the past? How did you determine the type of writer you are? Do you have some pearls of wisdom to share about how you plan out your stories? I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.