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PLANNER, PLOTTER, PANTSER: Terms Every Fiction Writer Needs to Know



1. Planner/Plotter/Outliner

In the world of writing, these three words can be used interchangeably to describe someone who "plans" or "plots" what they want to write ahead of time. This may look like very detailed outlines that follow a specific story structure, such as the beat sheet of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody or the traditional three-act structure.


2. Pantser/Discovery Writer

The name pantser comes from the phrase "fly by the seat of your pants." This title is given to those who choose NOT to plan what they're going to write before sitting down to actually write. Pantsers may write linearly to allow the story scenes to flow naturally from one to the next, or they may write scenes out

of order and later figure out how to fit them

together.


3. Plantser

This category exists for those who feel like they are a blend of the two. These writers may have only a few notes or just a basic idea of the main highlights of the story before they start writing their scenes.


Some people may also write some stories with one writing process and other stories with another. There is no set writing process that you have to follow. If you are just starting out in your writing journey and don't yet know what your preference is, take some time to figure out which of these feels most "natural" to you and start there. Don't worry about what other people may say is the "right" way to write. Find what works best for you!



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