In her book, Outlining Your Novel, K.M. Weiland shares a practical way to plan and outline your novel as part of the writing process. Inevitably, I have to mention the well-known and debated “Plotting vs. Pantsing” topic. It’s discussed all over the writing world, but I’d like to ask you now – Are you a plotter or pantser? (My autocorrect turned that into panther. May as well ask that too – any panthers out there?) 

I can’t say what I am. Most likely, I am a weird mix of both. I liked Weiland’s book, but I couldn’t apply it like I may have wanted to. I am not the kind of writer that sits down with notebook and pen or even laptop and 1) comes up with story ideas and 2) writes them down as they come along. My creative hours are either lying in bed at night or while walking – mostly those distances from the train and bus, etc. I have to mull over the idea and keep the thought in my head long before I can write them down. For being a writer, I keep very few notes. You won’t find stacks of notebooks on my desk.

Anyway, enough about me. The book discusses what a writer best needs to know about his or her story before getting into the first draft. Weiland gives helpful insight on the basics for scenes and scene structure; characters and their goals, conflict, and desires; setting; point of view; and more.

There are parts I found more useful than others. I have bookmarks in places where Weiland bullet points questions or a cool checklist. I recommend this book, but even more, I recommend Weiland’s website Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s awesome. Check it out, you’ll see.

Have a nice weekend!


15 responses »

  1. Thank you. Interesting stuff and am just about to check out the link. Never particularly plan anything or refer to any instruction manuals before building something, but the book looks extremely informative.

      • I read her article on grammar. I’ve been wanting an ace grammar book in addition to The Chicago Manual of Style and her book actually seems really good. I might even have to buy it. I mean she is some hectic editor lady.

  2. Pingback: WIRED FOR STORY by Lisa Cron | H.M. Brooks Writes

  3. I haven’t heard of that book before; looks interesting! I’m also kind of a combination of a plotter and a pantser (and a panther, rawwrr). I try to have full outlines for my novels, but I also tend to stray a lot from my original plan and change a lot of things as I go along. It’s like, I do have an outline but it’s extremely flexible, if that makes sense. 🙂

  4. I have only written one story, and I wrote it as it came to me, about 6 years ago. I’ve spent the time between rewriting and revising to make it better. I consider my original work my plotting, even though I thought I was writing (before I knew what plotting or pantsing was). I think its a wild idea to be a pantser. i’m sure it happens, but if the writer goes back through and studies their work to find plot holes or inconsistencies, are they still pantsers? I think that turns everyone into plotters. they may have written without an outline, but that first draft becomes the outline for the final product.

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