I think I finally figured out what kind of writer I am. 'Bout damn time. We have two general camps in Writerland, right? The folks who like to outline (the plotter), and the folks who like to write by the seat of their pants (the pantser). Rarely does a writer fall to the extreme right or left--plotting every aspect in advance or starting a story with no idea where it'll go. Most everyone has a mix, falls on the graph somewhere on one side or the other of the vague middle. And I don't think you really know who you are as a writer until you get this figured out.
I spent a long time knowing which I wanted to be. I wanted to be a plotter. I like the idea of controlling every aspect, having a template to work from. You'll notice I said I like the idea. In reality I hated working off that template. It never felt right, but I kept trying to fit myself into it. That's why I've had so much trouble writing this book, the biggest reason I considered giving up writing last year. I had made myself a template in the form of a tossed-off NaNoWriMo book, and I subconsciously suffocated.
So here's what I've learned about myself as a writer. I need:
- only a vague idea of what I want to happen in the story;
- to solidify the story through the characters;
- flexibility to try iffy directions without fear of "wasting" my words;
- and above all, to take my time.
None of these things mesh with the strict plotter I've always wanted to be. The plotters I know are like construction workers, building things. I'm more of an archaeologist uncovering things.
I may post more on this, but I've run out of time today. I'm taking the kids to the zoo and it's time to get ready. Why don't you tell me what kind of writer you are? Where do you fall on the scale of plotter/pantser?