For the people who are plotters or plansters, what does your planning/plotting stages look like?

To all the people who are plotters or plansters, what does your plotting/planning looks like?

How do you plan/plot your stories whether it is a little or a lot?
If you are a panster only, you are free to come on by and read the comments.

What do you think?


I consider myself a plantser as I go into each story with a plan, but how detailed it may be varies on what the story is. Most of my stories are pretty simplistic in terms of plot, but every so often, I may come up to a story that needs a more thorough description. However, it still doesn’t always land within the true “planning” territory.

My current story, a YA sci-fi fantasy, needed a thorough plan and, before I wrote it, I wrote an outline that started even before the events of the story. I was going off the background of the settings then divided the sections with plot point by plot point beats. I got nearly halfway through, taking about a month to write, when I decided to kickstart the book to get myself into NaNoWriMo (as I participated in the 2019 NaNo, though I didn’t win). I never actually finished the outline as I decided to continue writing until I got up to the point where I’d stopped, and unfortunately, that never happened either. Around that time, my computer did a complete restart on me where it reset everything and, while I didn’t lose the actual manuscript itself surprisingly, I did lose the outline. From there on out, I continued writing the story without a proper outline. The only plan I had was in my head, memories of what I wanted from the outline, bits and snippets of things I’ve planned on writing as I’ve had the idea in my head for years.

I’ve achieved this by knowing the main goal first and foremost, and then taking each scene and chronologically trying to get to that goal. So like, if I need to get a character to a certain place, I ask myself how they can do that and then write a scene that can take them into that direction.

With other books that had a better outcome with physical outlines, I mostly use the main plot points that I need to hit and then when actually writing, I go from there.


Slightly off topic:

Let me know if this makes total sense to you.

I come up with the craziest and possibly most complex story ideas that I can think of that require a large amount of research along with plotting/planning…THAT I CAN NEVER GET TO DOING BECAUSE I AM LAZY AS SHIT!!!

Anyway, I often wonder what a simple-ass plot idea would look like, but if I wrote a story with a plot that requires little to no research/plotting/planning, that will make me bitter as hell.

Writing simple stories aren’t my thing. The crazier and more complex the better. What would have made it a trillion times better is if I did some researching/plotting/planning when I get to the complicated parts while winging some of the other parts.

I don’t do that because again I am lazy and just want to wing-it on the whole thing.

Yet if I went with a simple plot idea or story (whatever that is), I wouldn’t be as happy as I would be with writing something crazy or even complex.

Does that make sense?


It makes sense, and honestly, if you don’t want to research before or during the writing part, you can wing the entire thing and then in revision, you can research and whatnot and then revise/rewrite when needed. I’ve heard of people doing that and making it like a “zero draft” as in, their first draft is technically a “try-out” stage where they word-vomit on the page just to get the story down and then the next draft is their “first” one where they rewrite and revise with a plan ahead to make sure they’re hitting the story beats, the research is there, etc.



What the hell, Qualeshia?! LMAO!!!
:sweat_smile: :rofl:


First I make a list of things that logically need to happen in the story, and then arrange them in the proper order. Then I turn that into a timeline of events, and then turn that into an outline. Then I break that down into little chapter outlines, with just a few lines for the major things that need to happen in each chapter.

For instance...
    ●  Chapter 54

    •   Elaine's first session with her therapist, and she's hung over
    •   confesses that she's been drinking for the past week
    •   complains of strange dreams that are getting worse
    •   she runs into Keshia the news anchor on the way out
    •   Keshia asks if she's changed her mind about appearing on the show
    •   Elaine is a little lit and inadvertently agrees; will regret it later

My outlines are way loose and very brief, just hitting the main points so I don’t forget them and there’s a logical chain of causality, as Shaelin Bishop says. (>‿◠):v:


Messed up really…

I have ideas for future chapters, even new characters and directions, all of which are in my head. Then I see what grows in my mind. Sometimes its good, but often it is poor to bad… Then I wonder on those poor to bad thoughts… Often they become sub-par and are left alone in the dark pages of my Notes which I harken back to look upon when I’m lost for direction… Sometimes they grow further, but most often they do not.

To be honest, most of what I have built of late has mostly been tied to the past, then I look to how it can assist the future, and the present on-goings of my tale. Sometimes it works out well, and other times it is shite… Often utter shite to be honest, and needs much character introductions and locations to adhere it to what I have already got.

So yeah, I’m a fly by wire writer with too much shit in my head at the most of times…




*holds up whiteboard*

This is how I plot when I actually get to plotting. Also ignore the spoilers :joy:


I’ve never heard of the term ‘plantser’. Is that if you go into the story with a basic idea per chapter but see how it turns out as you go? Because if it’s that, then that is me. I will get ideas usually while I’m driving or at work, so what I do is take the nearest item I can write or type on to get the idea out of my head and work it into my story later.

Sometimes it will add up to the chapter I am working on and other times I have them ready for follow up books. It’s annoying at times because eventually I will have writings all over which I try to keep inside a scrapbook.

So honestly it’s pretty chaotic at times and I will have great ideas for chapters I am not working on, and trying to pull ideas out which aren’t there because they are needed for the current chapter. But even so…this way works best for me.


For me, personally, a planster is a person half plots/plans and half wings-it or write freely.

It is a healthy balance between pansting and plotting…in my eyes.


That sounds about right then :smile:

I still have ideas before I start writing, but they must be put together as I go along.

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Yeah, I like to see it as the “best of both worlds” as you would.

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I have to admit, I never understood writers who can work everything out before they start. I have much respect for it, but I think I also lack the patience for it. I just want to get into my story, write the dialogue, and create my characters.

I started my book a long time ago and I only recently created my character profiles. Which I found quite helpful I admit that as well. I found out a lot about my characters, things I never thought about before. So I will definitely say that planning is important, but after reading some of the comments here it seems that most people ‘wing it half way’ :smile:


Same. I really don’t think I can plot and plan the ENTIRE novel before writing it. I would get antsy and have the absolute strongest urge to write. I seriously don’t like the idea of planning/plotting every single thing then write. I would much rather do a healthy balance of both and stick to it.

People who plot and plan every single thing and detail are truly something and their willpower to wait that long is bananas to me.



Exactly that, haha!

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