Ain't gonna happen.
I'm a plot person, no secret there. I envy pantsers in some ways, because writing thrives on imagination and spontaneity and what's more spontaneous than sitting down and letting the words flow? I wrote my first two novels pantser style, because I hadn't figured out how to do it otherwise. They needed a lot of revisions. I mean a LOT of revisions.
Then came book three. It was an ambitious project. I wanted to write a romance, which I hadn't done before; I wanted to write in multiple shifting POVs (seven, to be exact), also which I hadn't done before; and I wanted to craft a story that stepped outside the usual paranormal romance tropes to incorporate a strong external, post-apocalyptic-style plot.
What a freaking mess. It took two months to write and more than a year to tear it apart and put it back together.
In the process of tearing that novel down into its smallest components, I stumbled across a plotting method that worked for me, and that I used on the next three books, going on four. It might not work for you, because your mind might process differently. Then again, it might. I call it a "relationship arc" style of plotting, and, yeah, this is a cheap shill for the "Patchworking the Perfect Plot" online class I'll be offering through Southern Magic in June.
But the first question to ask yourself is not whether this plotting system might work for you, but whether you need a plotting system at all. Is what you're doing working? Then don't sweat it. Why mess with a good thing?
If you're a pantser who never suffers from writer's block, you might not need it. If you never wander blindly through what author Jim Butcher calls the "great swampy middle" of a story, you're probably okay. If you've never gotten three-quarters of the way through your novel and realized you don't have a freaking clue what's motivating your heroine (because you've lavished all your attention on the hero), you're doing fine.
Me? I did all those things in that third novel.
Here's what finding a plotting system that works for you can do (and it doesn't have to be mine--there are a lot of good ones out there).
--Help you write faster. This is a big one for me. If you're writing to contract, or if you've been insane enough to agree to write a serial novel, for example, it's a necessity. I'm on pace for three-to-four novels per year with a full-time day job. I couldn't pants it.
--Keep your story on track. I had major chunks of those first three books that had to come out because I got so carried away with my own cleverness and ability to amuse myself that I kinda lost track of the story and went wandering off in three directions. (This is that "great swampy middle" syndrome.)
--Keep your word count climbing. It's easy to massage one chapter for a month, especially if it avoids writing the next one. A plotting system will tell you what needs to come next--not in such detail that it stifles creativity, but at least it moves you in the right direction.
--Spot your plot weaknesses. Too many subplots, or not enough? Cardboard secondary characters? Ill-defined motivations? Too many characters?
What's your system? Let's talk shop. I'll choose one commenter at the end of the week for a spot in the Patchworking a Perfect Plot class or, if you prefer, a copy of that troublesome third novel. Ironically, it was eventually titled Redemption.