Why You Should Be Plotting Your Story
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Last Updated on January 8, 2020 by Katherine
Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?
In fiction writing, writers will typically fall into one of those two groups. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants and plotters will outline their story beforehand.
I used to be a serial pantser when writing creatively in school. However, it can lead to some rather ridiculous plot holes (I recall the main character being rescued by helicopter during a Hurricane in one of my short stories, for example!).
Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally fine to be a pantser, but pantsers need to be dictatorial editors. If you’d rather not have to be that ruthless after writing your heart out, then your answer is plotting. I’ll cover how to plot out a novel in a later post, but for now, let’s talk about why you may wish to consider becoming a plotter in your writing.
Hate When Others Go Off On a Tangent? So Do Your Readers!!
Without a clear plot, written down in some fashion, you are going to go off on a tangent. Going off on a tangent will bore your readers, so you’ll want to avoid that. I highly recommend writing down your plot because you will be more likely to remember it. Best of all, if you don’t remember, you have something to refer back to!
Have you ever attended a lecture where the teacher or professor just warbled off on some tangent instead of sticking to the main points of what the lesson was supposed to cover? Pretty darn boring right? Don’t do that with your readers and they’ll appreciate you for it!
Avoiding Plot Holes
Like my magical helicopter that could fly in a hurricane, if you “pants,” you run the high risk of creating a massive plot hole that you then either have to edit out or somehow explain in a way that makes sense to anyone reading your story.
The more planning you can do, the less likely you are to add something that then has to be explained adequately.
Plotting Can Relieve Stress
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your writing process, plotting can help you there. It takes some of the guesswork out of what you need to accomplish in your novel’s first act, second act, and so on. It allows you to jot down ideas you have for your story, so you don’t forget them.
Being overwhelmed can lead to paralysis or writer’s block in your writing. If you find yourself putting things off it may be a good idea to try plotting your story out and see if that unfreezes your creative juices!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing by the seat of your pants. However, writers who create this way need to be prepared to be ruthless in their editing. If you aren’t willing to do that, plotting your story can save you some editing time once you have finished your story. Plotting can also help focus your mind as you write, allowing you to incorporate all the beautiful things your mind has envisioned for your story.
Also, make sure you spend some time pondering your story’s setting and characters. Check out my earlier posts on Setting and Characters for more details!
Want a free story plotting printable? Steal my basic plot outliner by joining my email community today! Enter your email below to gain your instant and FREE download.
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Next week I’m going to show you how to make a memory wire bracelet. Until next week, stay crafty my friends!