This week's writing prompt asks whether participating authors are plotters or pantsers--and why.
There's no doubt about it: I'm a pantser. The thought of outlining my own stories and writing character descriptions and backgrounds gives me hives. Make no mistake, when I ghostwrite, I expect my clients to provide me with that information. I don't read minds. But for my own work, I begin with an idea or, perhaps, just a scene in my head and it's all systems GO. When it comes to telling stories, I like the advice given in Beauty by Robin McKinley: "Begin in the middle and work outwards. Don't be stuffy."
It shouldn't surprise anyone that I take writing advice from a book based on a fairy tale. (What may surprise folks is that I am not spontaneous person. It's a family joke that I plan my spontaneity.)
I couldn't exactly say why I write as a pantser other that I always have. Even when writing nonfiction or ghostwriting, much of it is seat-of-the-pants production. I "hear" the characters and "feel" their personalities, then try to convey that in print. When writing nonfiction, I do rely more on plotting, but that's because it's necessary to get my thoughts in order to flow in logical fashion so that the reader understands where I'm going and how I got there. That's not so crucial in fiction, although it often works out that way. When writing my own fiction, the characters carry me along on their adventures.
Someone once said, "No plot survives contact with the characters." In my experience, that's absolutely true. So why bother planning?