Plotting vs. Pantsing

A long time ago in an apartment far, far away…

I was a pantser. Full on discovery writer, gardener, whatever you wish to call it. With my first two books, I started writing them. That’s it. I started with word one and just kept going.

Many years later, I consider myself a pretty heavy plotter/outliner. I HAVE MANY SPREADSHEETS.

Someday, I should talk about my evolution in this aspect as a writer, but that’s a much longer, more involved blog post. For this, I simply want to put down in words as it happens, in case this goes horribly wrong, or horribly right, what I’m experimenting with on my new WIP.

Back in 2007, when I was still (sort of) young, when I started writing my first book, for a few days, I tried writing two books. At the same time. When I’d never written (finished) a book before. Seriously.

It was dumb. I gave the unfinished book a working title of Hell’s Gate. I think I wrote about 10,000 words in it, but unlike every other MS, I tried writing it out of order. It’s a strange concept to me now, and I found with that it was much easier to stick with my other project, The Doorway, by writing linearly. Like normal. Strange, but…

I’m doing it again. Kind of.

I’ve been working on my newest creation, Plague of Cataclysms, for some time now. Way too long, given that I haven’t started writing the first draft yet. But I have written a few scenes. I’ve decided to try playing around with each POV character at once, in her/his opening scene. And heavily revising before moving on, which is something I never really do.

I’m doing it because I want to work on character voices before I really dive in, and also because I want to practice with some fundamental aspects of writing I think I’m weak on. I’m not sure how this will impact the finished product, but I hope it makes me a better writer in the long run.

The outline is far from finished, and I still have worldbuilding details to work on. I count what I have as the zeroth draft. I feel like I’m pretty deep in this thing, but I still don’t count this as a start of the WIP.

So I guess the question is: Am I pantsing or plotting? In between? Or some freaky, mutant combination of the two?

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