stack of books and open notebook. Label: Quotation

Quotation: Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

Those of you participating in NaNoWriMo will know what that question means: Do you plot out your novel beforehand, or do you compose by the seat of your pants?

As a nonfiction writer, I’m way over on the plotter side of this spectrum. However, I have had the experience of writing in flow, during which time I’m composing by the seat of my pants and everything fits perfectly together.

How about you? Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Photo: Alice McDermott

“In my years of teaching and writing, I have discovered that there is no surer formula for the failure of a story or a novel than the author’s certainty—from the beginning and throughout the process—that he or she knows, knows from the outset the story’s beginning and end and every permutation of character and plot. The confident writer, the control-freak writer, the writer who cannot let go of his plan, is sure to be the writer whose work will remain pedestrian, predictable, uninspired.”

— Alice McDermott, What About the Baby? Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction (p. 182)

1 thought on “Quotation: Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?”

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Notes in the Margin

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top