That’s a question I hear often from writers seeking advice. I simply tell them to get that story out of their heads and onto paper and not to worry if it reads either like a screenplay filled with dialogue or something a grade one put together. Why?
Because it’s a first draft. Everyone works first drafts differently. Some love to sketch out their characters with extensive profiles; others love to map out the world or plot; and there are those, like me, who allow their characters to drive them wherever they want—otherwise known as a pantser. There’s no particular method that works for everyone. Each writer goes with the flow according to what their muse tells them.
All of my first drafts are basically screenplays loaded with dialogue. I allow the characters to speak to me and then in the subsequent drafts I go in and fill in narrative, descriptions, five senses to bring the story alive, and build my world and setting.
I’ve tried to be a plotter but it simply doesn’t work for me. It stresses me because when I have to follow a formula and my characters move in a different direction I get blocked. So to avoid this blockage I move forward with no particular direction and write.
Another ‘no-no’ that I do is I don’t set limits to word count per day. Tried that and again, for me, maybe not for you, a word count to reach seems to frustrate me. There are days where I write several chapters, and other times where one word comes to mind...a cuss word inner thought to ‘moi’ and that’s about all I do for writing that day. Won’t deny it’s not frustrating, but it would be double hell for me if I knew I missed my 1000 words and need to make up for it the next day by penning 2000. No thanks.
So, how many of you here are Pantsers and how many are Plotters?