NaNoWriMo: Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

So pretty soon it will be October 1st, which is the day that the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) forums reset for the 2010 challenge. That means it’s time now to start thinking about this year’s NaNovel. Once the forums reset, we’ll all have 1 month to brace ourselves for the writing whirlwind.

What is NaNoWriMo?

To recap, for those who’ve never heard of it: National Novel Writing Month, widely known as NaNoWriMo, is a yearly writer’s contest in which you are given 30 days in which to pen a 50,000 word novel. NaNoWriMo begins at midnight your local time on November 1st and ends at the same time on November 30th.

There are no prizes, other than a certificate and bragging rights. There is nothing to stop you from copying other text and reporting  yourself as a winner. Except for the sheer ridiculousness of cheating in a contest for which you win absolutely nothing.

The point of the contest is to get into the habit of writing every day, as well as to use time constraints to shut down the voice of that evil inner critic every writer seems to have. I’ve participated every year since 2004.

So Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

Everything I write tends to have a different method. My current work in progress (WiP) has been pretty thoroughly plotted. You should see all the post-its on my wall. This was a very different method for me as I’d usually not done much more than a vague outline before. I’ve also been a complete pantser in the past.

I recently discovered something called ‘phase drafting’, however, and I’m kind of interested in giving it a try. (Find out more about phase drafting here.) On the other hand, I don’t have much more than a couple of scene fragments to build from. That’s if I choose to use one of the two more developed ideas I’ve got on hold.

Yet it’s also a nice idea to be able to weave in whatever comes to mind. I find it exciting to think about writing in all the purple bunnies and ice-skating penguins that show up in the middle of the story. A completely whimsical, nonsensical story sounds enormously appealing after all the work that’s gone into plotting my current novel.

I haven’t decided on anything yet, though, and I still have a little while to make up my mind. So please join in. Are you planning to plot your NaNovel this year or write by the seat of your pants? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Note: I’m not asking for details of your plot and it’s probably best to keep that to yourself. Just tell me if you’re going to be a plotter or pantser this year! Thanks!

2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

  • September 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm
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    If I do NaNo I'll most likely be a panster as I'm completely and utterly unprepared with one. month. left. o.O

  • September 30, 2009 at 11:49 am
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    If I do NaNo I'll most likely be a panster as I'm completely and utterly unprepared with one. month. left. o.O

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