Wednesday – What type of writer am I?


Welcome to Writing Wednesday where I talk about writing!

In my time pursuing a writing career I have seen over and over that there are two kinds of writers: Pansters and Plotters. Plotters, of course, are those who sit down and plot every little scene of their book before they ever start writing. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants, never knowing what was going to happen next, caught up in the chaos and excitement of their words.

For the longest time I thought I was a pantser, even though I drew up general outlines. Why? Because usually around 30k words into a manuscript, I’d realize something was terribly wrong, and I had to go back to the beginning and start over.

Then, in one of my more useful MFA courses, we read a book called The Craft of Writing. In this book the author proposes there are two kinds of writers: Plot first writers, and Character first writers.

My problem suddenly became clear to me. I was a plot first writer – I had my story idea all figured out. However, I was a panster when it came to creating characters. So often by the time I made it to the middle of a book, I realized I was trying to shoehorn my character into something he wasn’t, merely to fit the shape of the plot I’d sorted out in the beginning.

This leads to a lot of re-writing.

I propose the following diagram for writer types:

I think this is more reflective of my writing style. I believe I fit in the lower left quadrant there.

Now that I know, I’m starting to spend more time with my characters before I begin drafting. If I get to know them first, then hopefully this will mean less re-writing in my future.

What kind of writer are you? Let’s chat in the comments!

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