Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

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Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Nordlys » August 27th, 2012, 12:46 pm

. in between?

A pantster is someone who basically 'flies by the seat of their pants' as they are writing their story. They know who the hero and heroine are, how they meet, what keeps them apart, and maybe how they get back together. Other than that, they often have little idea of how the story it going to go. Of course, all authors are slightly different, some pants more and some pants less.

A plotter is someone who sits down and plots out every bit of their work. They work from an outline and know where their story is going from beginning to end. They will have their major plot points worked out ahead of time, and from what I understand, tend to have fewer “surprises” as they are writing, which can be wonderful.


Until last year I was an hardcore plotter, now I think i'm something in between. I start having the basic plot, a basic idea about characters and I write all chapters, following the plot-line. To me is absolutely vital to know how the story ends before starting to write it.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Mr. Henry » August 27th, 2012, 12:58 pm

I'm a 60/40 (60%Pantser/40%plotter), I'll write out the story's premise and do a brief, scene-by-scene summary of each chapter, but the dialogue and character interactions are all done from my head. Sometimes I find my brain to be a better retainer of comic information than my computer, since it means I can edit and work on other chapters or scenes on the go. It's... really weird to explain without it sounding lazy. :?
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Mayja.Walsh » August 27th, 2012, 1:05 pm

90% plotter. I have a few years worth of story written up but I'm still going and don't see an end in sight.
Things like dialogue tend to be edited for length as well but, no most everything is planned.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Charil » August 27th, 2012, 1:52 pm

^ that basically. From my experience, stories that just keep making things up as they go end up grasping for straws trying to figure out what to do next and quickly jump the shark. I think it takes a lot of skill to be a complete pantser, as you need to constantly remember what you've already written so you don't write something new that conflicts with what you've already established.

Plotting everything in advance is my safety net lol. I like foreshadowing, I like knowing exactly what I have to do next, and I like being able to draw scenes I've been looking forward to drawing. The only thing I'm not really rigid about is dialogue; the dialogue is never finalized until a page goes up on the web, it's constantly being reworked to flow better and sound nicer. Occasionally I'll think of a different way to approach a scene or something, but half the time I'll go "nah, that's stupid" and go back to the way I'd originally planned it.
Last edited by Charil on August 27th, 2012, 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Neio » August 27th, 2012, 1:56 pm

Mr. Henry wrote:I'm a 60/40 (60%Pantser/40%plotter), I'll write out the story's premise and do a brief, scene-by-scene summary of each chapter, but the dialogue and character interactions are all done from my head. Sometimes I find my brain to be a better retainer of comic information than my computer, since it means I can edit and work on other chapters or scenes on the go. It's... really weird to explain without it sounding lazy. :?



I'm pretty much that too, so I understood that perfectly :)

I write out certain scenes that I like and feel are important, usually multiple times to get a good "feel" for it, but other than that, most of my ideas are stored in my head. When I get closer to the chapters I'm working on, I then have a very rough script so I can plan out how long the chapters are and when it would be a good spot to stop the chapter.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby phoenixgem » August 27th, 2012, 2:18 pm

Charil wrote:Plotting everything in advance is my safety net lol. I like foreshadowing, I like knowing exactly what I have to do next, and I like being able to draw scenes I've been looking forward to drawing. The only thing I'm not really rigid about is dialogue; the dialogue is never finalized until a page goes up on the web, it's constantly being reworked to flow better and sound nicer.

This.
I'm a 80% Plotter. I always have a clear ending for my stories (though my beginings always seem to change) and there are key events that have to happen because foreshadowing is my weapon of choice in writting. The 20% of pantster in me lies in dialogue. I never plan dialoge, if I did I'd come back a week later and hate it because "what was I thinking a week ago this is terrible".
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby eishiya » August 27th, 2012, 2:23 pm

(I think this would be better in Art Techniques & Tutorials, since writing is art too. Shall I move it, or do you want it here specifically?)

(Edit: Basically what Charil said. But onwards with my original post that took too damn long to type:)

I'm more of a plotter, but the exact ratio of plotting and pantsing depends on my goals with the specific story. The more important it is for a story to be tightly woven, the more planning I do before I draw it.
My sketch comic has a rough outline with the turning points and some notes on the key visuals, and that's the absolute minimum I'm willing to work with.
For long stories, I like an outline of major events, but I only make the detailed chapter outlines/scripts/thumbnails about a chapter or two ahead of time. For shorter stories (less than 200-ish pages), I like to have the whole thing planned out and thumbnailed before drawing any pages. I write out the dialogue ahead of time, but it's not immutable. I often make minor changes to make it flow/look better visually.

For my older comics, I generally worked with an outline but pantsed it beyond that, but I was never satisfied with the results, which is why I plan more carefully now.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Jops » August 27th, 2012, 3:10 pm

I guess i'm more of a plotter, even tho there's often some things i toss in at the last minute.
Before i used to improvise a lot more, but then i felt that the writing side of my comic was clumsy and that i could have made a much better work if i planned ahead.

Now i make a rule not to start unless i know exactly where the story is gonna end and how it gets there.
When i change things at the last minute are just some minor things like the panel sequence or a few dialogues 'cause they flow better.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby mitchellbravo » August 27th, 2012, 3:41 pm

I have major points that are plotted out, but I think I'm more of a pantster (lol that word). I don't write dialogue until I'm actually inking it onto the page, though I will have a general idea of what's being said. I have a list of the events taking place in whatever chapter I'm currently working on, but don't know how many pages each sequence will take up until I officially sit down to write it. For me, this makes the "flow" seem more natural, and I usually can squeeze out a few last really good ideas to improve the page that would be absent if I followed a script I had written weeks/months/years :( prior.

That's for Loud Era at least, back when I used to do strange one-shot comics I would type up a full script first and then set to laying out all the panels. I haven't done one of those in years, though. Aw, I kinda miss it.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Wulfmune » August 28th, 2012, 5:39 am

I plot everything and fully script at least 3 chapters ahead. I don't really bother to script farther than that because I end up changing a lot when I'm drawing the actual pages. It might be a certain expression comes out a certain way, or I notice something in the back ground/environment that has me re-working bits. Or just the fact that I have nothing else to think about but YET more revisions while I'm spending the hours and hours drawing and coloring. Does that make me a plo-antser?
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Froken Keke » August 28th, 2012, 9:31 am

I'm not really that much of a plotter, or... It depends. I've usually got the current chapter completely planned pretty early on, but I like to keep the next ones a bit open, and choose what I wanna do when I get to that point. It usually feels better than planning out years of work beforehand, and just follow that.
However, at the moment I actually have an outline for the following two-three chapters, so I kind of broke my rules there.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Mundius » August 28th, 2012, 9:45 am

I'm a pantster most of the time, but when I start expanding the story, I'm a plotter. Seriously, present day in my webcomic is about nothing, really. The past spans millions upon millions of terries and is a massive story of whatever clusterfuck I can place in there that makes sense. I'm working on the blunt version right now, which isn't done yet and already passed 2000 words of "X did Y to Z" for the most part.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Selidor » August 29th, 2012, 5:00 pm

I've tried the pantster technique and it never worked for me, so I'm definitely a plotter. I think making it up as you go along is fine for gag-a-day or short arc structures, but if you're trying to create a comic driven by a full, overarching story then I don't think many people can pull it off without planning and still have something that's actually good at the end. I wouldn't trust myself making things up as I go along, and I'd end up side-tracked or the structure would fall apart. It's also a good motivator to know where you're going. I don't plan things out 100% and stick to them down to the last letter on each page, but I give myself a solid framework to adjust where necessary. I have thumbnail sketches produced for a chapter before I start drawing it, and scripting done 2-3 chapters ahead, and summaries of how the comic as a whole will play out produced before I start any drawing work.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby maplebee » August 29th, 2012, 7:16 pm

Panster 90% of the time. I will sit and plot for single incidences but not large spans of story, particularly if an event has occurred to me that won't happen in the story for quite awhile and I want to remember the details.
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Re: Writing method. Are you a plotter, a pantster or something..

Postby Pochi » August 29th, 2012, 8:27 pm

99% pantster, even major plot points morph once I actually draw the panels out. I do have dialogue scripted out but it's pretty useless on my part b/c the end product usually has what...20% of the original dialogue.

I think it's because I'm really stressed on having visuals and dialogue/story to flow and I have to see the scenes in visual form to really get that flow.
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I'm jealous of plotters though, it would be far less stressful for me to not have to worry about a constantly-changing story/plot haha.
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