Plotting vs Pantsing

When I first started writing in 3rd Grade I hated outlining or planning my stories in any way. I thought it stifled my creativity. I would get the original story idea and would immediately start writing, not caring what the end would be. While this was great for short stories, when I started trying to write longer pieces in 6th and 7th Grade I found that I often got lost or bored and would abandon WIPs (Works in Progress, if you didn’t already know).  learned that maybe some general guidelines would be helpful. I still couldn’t bring myself to completely map out every scene/chapter or even know the end, but as I got ideas for big scenes, I’d write them down in a sort of timeline fashion.

Last year, in 9th Grade, I started my second full-length novel: an Alice in Wonderland spin-off with a friend of mine called Where Madness Dwells. We both started on the story idea and wrote the first 5 or so chapters, but then took a break because school got in the way. However, before we split, I had made a list of chapters with a rough idea of what we needed to have happen by certain points of the story; you could say I created a rough skeleton for us to work off. Not quite an outline, but at least it was something. Where Madness Dwells has since been placed on the back-burner due to our conflicting schedules, but I know that when we go back to it, we’ll have a sense of direction and will be able to dive right back in.

This year, as a present to myself after getting my braces off and bought myself Scrivener…which has been the BEST decision I’ve ever made. It’s made working on my new novel, 7th Heaven, a walk in the park. I can easily see all my chapters together on Corkboard (shows summaries only), read them continuously, or edit them separately. I can also add in images or other research related items in different folders, but still accessible within the Scrivener window– which is great for me since I’m an organization freak when it comes to my writing.

So, I’m a converted Plotter. What are you? Sound off in the comments below.

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