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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Plot or Not To Plot

Please welcome guest blogger Lindi Peterson

I’m Lindi Peterson. Thanks for having me on the FF&P blog. Missy Tippens and I are hosting a workshop in June through FF&P titled The Cinder-Bella Theory. We track Cinderella and Bella’s journeys. Heroines created over 300 years apart, yet their stories are similar in so many ways.

What’s a little different about this is that Missy is a plotter and I’m a panster. We attack our manuscripts totally differently from the start, but we both end up in the same place. We take different routes and it’s still all good. Because even if you don’t plot before you start writing, when you finish you can go back and look at all the plot points you’ve weaved in.

Now I’ve tried plotting. I once wrote a 20 page outline-chapter by chapter. I felt like I had written the book. I put that outline away and haven’t looked at it since. For me, the thrill was gone. My signature line is ‘happy endings are just the beginning’ so I know I’m going to have a happy ending. I just don’t know how I’m going to get there.

I hear people talking about a new term---plantster—part plotter, part panster. I can’t even say I’m one of them. I am truly a panster. Give me that opening sentence and I’m off.

So, what about you? Do you like plotting and charts and character sketches? Or are you an I-have-an- idea-and-I’m-going-to-start-my-novel type?

Happy Endings Are Just The Beginning

Lindi Peterson

Cinder-Bella Theory, presented by Missy Tippens and Lindi Peterson, runs from June 6, 2011 through June 20, 2011

Lindi Peterson definitely believes happy endings are just the beginning. She lives out her real life romance with her husband in a small Georgia town. When she’s not writing, she loves to read, bowl and spend time with her family.

Visit her at lindipeterson.com and thefaithgirls.com

Her Best Catch

Allison Doll’s mother is rebelliously turning fifty, her two best friends have started dating and a gorgeous injured relief pitcher has joined her Sunday school class rocking her world into confusion, heartache and temptation, places she hasn’t visited in a long time, much less all at once.

But with the help of family, old friends she really hasn’t lost, a new friend she really can count on, and God, she finds herself no longer a girl waiting for life to happen, but a girl who’s ready to commit to her best catch!


Christy LaShea said...

Hi Lindi,
You know I love this topic....I wrote down about 20 to 30 plot points for a contemporary romance recently. By the time I got done with it, after I brainstormed a little more on it with my crit partner, I had totally lost interest!

Now, with a historical I'm writing, I've tried to plot out where it's going... and I notice I'm stalling on it as well.

However, with my busy schedule, I can see the good in plotting.

But I'm wondering if I need to find out more about the plotser.. or whatever that medium was between plotting and pantsing!

Lindi said...

Not sure about the plantster. I think it involves a little plotting. I know Patty Hall has totally gone from being a panster to a plotter. But I just can't do it! Not yet, anyway.
The question I have for you is this:
How do you WANT to write? What is your gut telling you? Dive in? Plot?

Hildie McQueen said...

Lindi, I'm with you, the thrill of writing is not knowing what's going to happen next. Sometimes I am as surprised as a reader would be. Totally a PANSTER here!!! Great article!

Anonymous said...

Plantster. I LOVE IT!! That's a great term.

Great post.

Missy Tippens said...

I used to be a pantser, but then I ended up having to do so much "fixing" that it took me forever. And I did not like that part! LOL So I started with a GMC chart and have added more and more pre-writing work since then. :)

Judith said...

I have taken workshops on plotting and have tried, and tried, to implement the process, but everything inside me screams "No!" My muse goes into tantrum mode. So I've sort of surrendered. I know where I have to end up, can see a few important plot points, and just let it fly from there :-)

Marilyn Muniz said...

It took me a while to figure it out I am panster. No matter how hard I tried, I always write alway from my plot line. So I give up and everything feels right.

Lindi said...

Hildie--Pansters unite!! Yay!

Lindi said...

I forget where I heard the term, but it's been recently. :)

Lindi said...

I think that's the key. If you don't LOVE revising a lot, then a plotter you should be. You do such a great job of preworking. And your stories show it.

Lindi said...


I think your process is your process. I had to really learn to trust it. But if your insides are screaming "no!!" then go with the flow and just write. :)

Lindi said...

Don't you love it when everything feels right? I'm glad you are writing real.

Klawz said...

I agree completely. However, sometimes I find myself incapable of working out where to go next. The plot stagnates. Does that happen to you?

Kat said...

YES!!! Finally, someone who's been there!

I outlined only once, as well. I was very professional about it, making sure to get every plot point down just as I'd been taught. Then I sat there just looking at the paper. I thought "Welp, this story has been written," and put it away. I never looked at it again.

Oddly enough, I never thought of it again, either. I can tell you danged near every story I've ever come up with from the time I was eight, except that one.

I am SUCH a pantser, right down to rabbit trails, red herrings, and dead ends. But, on the flip side, some of my most miraculous bits of plot spring from those elements as well, so I figure it all works itself out in the long run.

Angela Breidenbach said...

I do think it's funny that you two have built such a great buddy system being so different :-)