Team Discovery!

I don’t like the terms Pantser and Plotter. Pantser sounds like someone who runs around yanking people’s trousers down, and Plotter just sounds like someone who’s up to no good.
Artist's conception of a Plotter
This comes up because NaNoWriMo is around the corner, and a lot of people are going gaga for outlines right now.

(I'm not participating in NaNo. I'm using the time to work on my Camp NaNo MS that I thought was a piece of junk until I started reading it the other night. Amazing what a couple of months rest can do for a WIP.)

I was watching this series of lectures by Brandon Sanderson (h/t to Brandon Axe for the links), and in one of the lectures Mr. Sanderson tackles the ever present question of Pantser - v - Plotter. He gave some alternative terms to use: Gardner/Discovery writers, and Architect/Outline writers.
But Gardner is a misnomer. It gives the idea that gardening is some sort of willy-nilly, throw some seeds on the ground and watch it grow type of process. Gardening is so much more than that (says the woman who either over-waters or under-waters every plant she has ever had). Gardening has a lot more in common with architecture than not.
Now Discovery. That’s a great way of describing it. Sitting down with the idea that you’re going to write, and then discovering the story as you go along. That’s how it feels to me. So going forward, I will no longer describe myself as a Pantser. I am a Discovery writer.
 For you Plotter/Architect/Outliners, you'll just have to find your own cool name. Although I guess Architect is a pretty good name.


  1. Definitely not an architect - probably why my drafts are full of holes and leaks! I do have a rough outline for NaNo though. It's good to have at least some idea of where you're going, but it's also good to remain open to change.


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