When it comes to writing, it is important to think about the approach you want to make. There are three main approaches, and everybody comes under one of these headings, but you should never feel as though this is the only way you do it. You may try one way, then realise that it isn’t working, so you try another. Give them all a go, and see what works best for you.
A planner is somebody who wants to do their research and set things up before even starting to write their book, but this can take on a number of levels. You may want to be the ultimate planner and have every part of your book mapped out before you get going, you will have researched everything about every situation, character and location. You will know who your characters are going to be, exactly what they are going to do and you will know every location where they will be found throughout the book. You may even have set out each chapter, so that you know what will happen, when it will happen and how it will happen.
If you are a planner, you may find that it takes a lot of both time and work to get everything to where you want it to be before you get started, but once you have done all of this work, it is a simple process of taking these notes and virtually fill in the gaps. You will know everything that is happening, so you can simply write it all down.
Doing things this way may even turn out to be quicker, as it will likely take less rewrites, due to the amount of work you have put into ensuring that everything makes sense, that everything that should happen does happen and nothing is added which will start to make things fall apart.
While some would see this as being extremely boring, others will see it as being productive.
One of the biggest problems people have, especially on a first book, is that they spend so much time working out what will be happening in their book. They spend hours upon hours working on this, wanting to get everything just right before even writing a single word of the story.
It’s a simple fact that the first draft of any book is going to be bad, it’s just one of those things, which is why there are second, third, fourth, etc drafts, where everything is reworked to provide the final product.
By pantsing, you can let your mind run free and just write. There are no hurdles you have to jump while writing, because you have a clean slate. You may have some idea of what you would like, you may even know how your book is going to end, but even these ideas should be no more than ideas.
Being a pantser means that you can just let the story flow naturally, and you will often find that it goes in directions that you had not even thought about. You should never be scared to just let the story tell itself, with you there to simply record things.
Maybe there comes a time when your main character needs to be killed off. If it seems right at the time, then let it flow, go with it. You may have a big ending planned in the old manor house, but halfway through the book, this burns to the ground – don’t worry about it.
In the end, this is the first draft, so what does it really matter? Even if you find that you need more control, you can do this with the first draft being used to see where it goes and to find out which ideas come out and then use some of these ideas to rewrite the book as a plotter.
You may feel that you are neither a planner or a pantser and, if this is the case, then you are a plantser, which is a combination of the two.
As a plantser, you will work through some parts of your story ahead of time, providing you with a guide to what you are doing, but you do not write anything too rigid. This is useful, as it means you know the direction in which you are going, but if you have ideas along the way, or if the story begins to take over, you can go with this and, if it begins to go out of control, you can stear it back towards the place it should be.
A good point to being a plantser, is that you get the best of both worlds, without being either to strict or having no idea what is taking place.
The bad point is that you may prefer to either know exactly what is happening or just get on with writing your book.
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