Plotters VS. Pantsers

So, over the past few years this new word has popped up in the writing community. It’s an… odd word. It’s a group of people, and these people call themselves pansters. Now, the firs time I heard this word I was confused. I’d never met anyone who dubbed themselves this, and I couldn’t quite understand what was going on. Because according to this person, and every other person I’ve spoken to about the matter, pansters don’t plot anything.

But first, let’s go over the differences (that I have seen) between plotters and pansters


  • They plot things
  • They often outline
  • They tend to have multiple documents of planning
  • They plan
  • They plan


  • They don’t plan
  • They don’t have outlines
  • They write whatever comes to mind and don’t think about scenes
  • They don’t plan

Or, at least, that’s what I get out of it. Maybe I’m wrong, but whenever I talk to people this is how they describe it.

So here’s my deal. I don’t think there is such a thing as a pantser based on the definition above. Because as a writer, you have to plan SOMETHING. Characters, basic idea of what you want, what the world is like, and so on. You have to plot SOMETHING. Right? Otherwise there’s no consistency, and I can’t imagine there’s a lot of depth. Depth takes thinking. I mean, maybe some people don’t have to think for a long time to get depth, and maybe I’m not smart enough, but I know for me it takes time. It takes planning, even if that planning is just in my head.

I might be weird, but I don’t think there is such a thing as a pantser. Just someone who plans less or doesn’t write it down. You don’t have to outline to be a plotter. You just have to plot things.

Anyone disagree? Feel free to shut me down!


3 thoughts on “Plotters VS. Pantsers

  1. OMG I have found myself via your post – I am a panster! Only through lack of writing experience. I need to become a plotter because my writing would improve, I know this. The trouble is that feels like I have no freedom to go off on wild tangents – one of my writing hobbies – and to add characters when I like – another hobby. I must change. Thx for allowing me to find myself 🙂 Happy Sunday

  2. Haha, I feel like years ago when I started Amongst Other Things, I was a panster. And yet, there were SOME things planned amongst (hey hey – do you see what I did there? 😉 ) the craziness. So, maybe not? I do see what you mean — I think it would be very hard to have something even marginally coherent without planning ANYTHING. Just, maybe they don’t write it down or think about it a whole lot. I know that for the story I’m working on right now, I don’t have a whole lot of planning WRITTEN down, but I’ve been thinking about it for so long that it’s there in my head, as well as in sketches (which is oddly the best way I brainstorm).

    Glad to see you doing more posts! They’re always really interesting to read! 🙂

Have a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s