About NaNoWriMo Prep: Outlining

Nano is nearly here. I’ve been harping this all week, but I can’t wait. However, it is necessary to go into NaNo with reasonable goals. It is not impossible to finish a full novel in one month, but it can not be completed to a publishable level in that time. But publish ready quality is not what I am here to talk about. I’m here to talk about the difference between plotters and pansters.

They are a unique species which I will never truly understand. A panster is essentially a person who writes their novels from the seat of their pants. With nothing more than an idea and maybe a plot point or two, a panster can craft an entire novel that makes sense. I am in awe of pansters because when ever I try to write from the seat of my pants I end up with a story that has no point and never goes anyway. It tends to be a cluster of story wth no true connections. On the rare occasion that I successfully create a plot that makes sense and is cohesive, I lose interest in the project that seemingly has no end.

I fall into the plotters category. If I don’t have a story that is fully plotted before I write my first sentence, i begin to flounder. For me, knowing what my story will become is enough to motivate me to put pen to paper. Plotting also helps me discover what will work and what won’t work before I spend the time writing. Sure, I may need to change something later on, but I can rule out a fundamentally flawed scene before I ever write it. I don’t like doing excess work, so plotting is the way for me.

Every writer is different. Every plotter is different from other plotters; just as every panster has a different method than other pansters. The way to become successful at writing is trying different things. I would recommend every plotter writes from the seat of their pants at least once and for every panster to make an outline before writing. You never know what method will work best for you. It is entirely possible to write using a method you think works, but actually doesn’t.

For NaNo on such a short time frame, I would recommend that plotters have a significant amount of their story plotted out before hand. When you are working on such a condensed time frame it is easy to soar past your goals if you hit a rhythm. The last thing you want during NaNo is to hit a stumbling block that you didn’t need. For pansters, I recommend that you save up your creative juices and relax so when November 1st rears its ugly head you can hit the ground running.

Now I know this didn’t provide a lot of ample advice on my suggestions for effective outlining without crushing your creative mojo and ability to explore a piece. If that is something people show an interest in, I’ll get on it, but I’ll let the likes on this post be the judge of that. NaNoWriMo is upon us, are you ready for the challenge? Are you a panster or a plotter? Would you like to see a proper post on outlining?

5 thoughts on “About NaNoWriMo Prep: Outlining

  1. I’m an outliner. I tried the seat of the pants method but encountered major writer’s block, so I had to quit.

    I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m interested to know your particular method of outlining.

  2. Pingback: Roundup October 2013 | So, I pondered...

  3. Pingback: NaNoPrep: Why I Need Outlines | So, I pondered...

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