Author's Notes| Plotters

You feel it right? That needs to go buy a notebook and begin the outline of what promises to be one of the most exciting writing projects ever? You layout your pens, you start with your bulleted lists, and you create your mind maps. By the end of the hour, you have a system of characters and plot points that you will be able to come back to again and again. You are a plotter. You find that having an outline the very least of what you will need to make sure your story is as epic as your muse is showing you. I myself am a pantser (you can find that article here), but my friends who are plotters are some of the most organized writers I’ve ever seen. Their stories are always well crafted and have very few plot holes. Are you a plotter? See if any of the below applies to you!


Plotters know what’s going to happen in chapter three and thirteen. They know what their character was doing at the age of six, and what they will be doing at the age of twenty-six. If they have a magic system then they will be able to tell you the physics behind why that magic system works. Plotters have files for their files. They have character sheets for their characters. They have a specific writing ritual that ensures the results that they are looking for are going to be able to produce the same quality of writing each time.

Very few plot holes

Editing is not easy. This is regardless of if you are a plotter or not. However, editing is a lot less strenuous when you know why an action was taken. You can go back to your notes and outline to see where something might have jumped the shark then reign the story back in. Your outline is your road map to your story. You and your characters are able to navigate the system you created by the rules you put down in your world. When editing you will be able to adjust in ways that make sense according to your outline which keeps the story from getting out of hand.

Project finishing

Though it may take plotters a minute to get started, once they get started they finish. They are less likely to have writer’s block and do not jump from project to project often. They already know where the story is going and can continue to write the story to its inevitable end. If they lose something on the way, they can just check their notes and go back to where they think they lost their way. If their steampunk story about a lamp that shines a map on the wall when lit has been started, then you can rest assured that their story has a mechanism for reaching the end of the book if the lamp gets broken.

Redoing outlines

Plotters adhere to their outlines semi rigidly. If something has to change, then they have to change a large part of their outline which in some cases might mean starting parts of it from scratch. This also means having to change full chapters to accommodate the change in plot point.

Less Spontaneity

Outlines can get to feel like a chore. There is less chance of being able to do that really cool idea that just popped into your head because the outline you wrote doesn’t allow for that anomaly. If you try to write the new thing in, it could throw your whole book off. There is also more of a chance of losing that creative spark because it feels like you’re writing by wrote and not by love. Then sometimes you can spend so much time in the pre-writing research stage that you never start writing.

Write as your heart feels it needs to write. There is no wrong way to write, and there is no wrong way to finish a story. The best story is a completed story. If you find that you spend more time in the planning stage then that’s fine. It just means that your plotting is where your strengths are. As long as you are enjoying the journey then there is nothing wrong with how you get to its end. If you find that you are more of a pantser never fear your story is just going to take a different road to completion. However, you write just to make sure that in the end, you have used your writing voice to its full capabilities.


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