Saturday 19 March 2011

To Plot or Not...?

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Do you plan your novel meticulously scene by scene or do you fly into the mist?
As a writer of fiction, it’s the question and answer I avidly look for in an author interview. Myself, I’m a pantser, but one who yearns to be a plotter and that’s because I have written myself into the most awful mess so many times, usually at a point where I’ve invested too much in the work to even consider chucking it in the bin. And I’ll admit, it’s the reason I took gratuitous pleasure in a Tweet from author Ian Rankin this week, who said he’d ‘hit a wall at 60k’. Ian, it seems, is a pantser too.

One of my much-loved books on writing is Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and in it he admits to favour not plotting, although it obviously frustrates him too because he says, and I quote, ‘I won’t try to convince you that I’ve never plotted anymore than I’d try to convince you I’ve never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible.’

But plotters, I hear, use systems by which they avoid sagging middles at 45k and writer’s block at 60k and they catch inconsistencies before they cause huge holes in the plot and indeed before they even begin writing. How appealing it all seems!
But what if careful planning stifles creativity? And - if the writer knows what will happen next - does the reader know it too, and will the reading experience be spoiled? What do you think?

Next Friday, 25th March, I’m interviewing the Amazon Kindle Number One Bestselling Romance Author of ‘No Cure For The Broken Hearted’ Kenneth Rosenberg, and if he ‘plotted or not’ was one of the questions I asked of him. Join us next week to find out the answer!