Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Plot by Scene

Already Wednesday again—this week has flown by! Today’s RTW question from YA Highway is: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you like to make a detailed plan before you start a project? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go along?

My answer isn’t simply picking A or B. I fall somewhere smack dab in the middle. I know how the book is going to end when I start writing, but I don’t always know how my characters will get there. When I write I think in scenes: a dance, a snippet of conversation, a walk through the marketplace. Then I figure out how these scenes can interact with one another in a cohesive plot. My plot outlines can barely be called that; they really just include a listing of scenes (normally three) that I want to include in each chapter. Something like this:
Chapter Eight
J thinks of S
J’s daily activities- intro F
J has lunch with E- intro
Nothing special at all, right? But it tells me what I need to do for the chapter. So far this not quite plotting not quite figuring-it-out-as-I-go has been working well for me, but I can imagine that extra plotting before I dive in could be really helpful, too. Perhaps I’d have less revising to do that way…always something to consider!


  1. In reading through these posts, I'm noticing most of us fall somewhere in the middle. I think there's something to be said for trying a few different methods until one finds what works best for oneself.

  2. I fall somewhere in the middle as well. I outline, but not until after the first draft.

  3. It's always fun when you go the hybrid route! Love it :)

  4. The middle route lets you have the best of both worlds!