Sunday, March 29, 2009

Plotter or Pantser? Visual or Auditory?

Yesterday at our chapter meeting, Laura Hayden gave a program on plotting backwards. What I got out of this program was that this could be a valuable method of working out my plot's progression if I was stuck at a point in the story and wanted to get to a specific end result. I think it would be even more valuable for any writer who is a plotter. They could double check their plot from front to back and back to front before beginning the story and insure that everything worked.

To start, we used pictures of familiar movie stars and gave them character names from our story's plot. I was surprised at how helpful this was when considering each plot variation. It made me realize that I am more visual than auditory. It was much easier for me to look at something and grasp every nuance and turn and twist in the different scenarios.

While I don't think I will ever think my book completely through before beginning writing, I will enlist this tool if I ever get stuck and want to get my plot back on track.

Are you a plotter or pantser? Do you respond better to visual or auditory input? What do you do to try and resolve a twist in your plot?


Karen Beeching said...

I plot the first 5 or 6 major story points and then I start doing the panster thing. I fill in the blanks as I go, which I believe keeps my writing more suspenseful because even I don't know what's going to happen next.

When I get stuck, I usually step away from the story for a few days. I'll try to think further ahead and most often that helps me work out the problem.

Sometimes my characters figure it out for me.

M.V.Freeman said...

I am a combination of pantser & plotter, visual and auditory. It is not unusual for me to begin with a story, and it go through several cycles before I ever get start writing...and once I start writing have the story change.

But, I like the idea of plotting backwards, that's a nifty idea.

Carla Swafford said...

I'm a panster though I have some plotter attributes. When I'm about halfway through I go over my characters' GMCs and lay out each plot point by chapters I've already done. All of that will help in working on the Painfully Mystifying Synopsis (PMS).

I'm visusal and auditory but rarely use those and the twists just happen.

Christine said...

I let the weather worries keep me from making the drive to Birmingham and now I regret it even more after reading the post. The class sounds awesome.

I am a little bit of both. I need structure/plot, but I need freedom to roll with it and let the people in my stories yack to me about their stories and incorporate that stuff as well.

Best thing I did was BIAW (Book in a Week). I restored the fun of writing in my heart and I plunked out a MS without editing. But I also had a framework when I started. I use a scene/skeleton template and I plop all my info into there. Then I write from that skeleton.

And index cards. They and post-its are my best friends when I am plotting a story.

Patricia Robertson said...

I have to have music when I write. A soundtrack for the movie in my head.

Louisa Cornell said...

I am basically a pantser. I have a basic idea of how the story is going to go, but it doesn't necessarily end up where I thought it would. Once I get about halfway through it I can sketch out the basic plot points and put them on index cards which I can shuffle if need be. I keep a notebook of each book with photographs of my characters. Character sketches, family trees. Photos of rooms and houses, places. Even floor plans sometimes. If I get stuck, but I know how the story ends I have a list of scenes that have to happen and I will move on to the next scene or the next and come back to make the tough scene fit. Sometimes I don't need that scene at all.