Posted by: victanguera | February 25, 2010

Writing Prompt #144

Much controversy exists on the subject of plotting vs. pantsing as a method of storytelling. From what I can tell, those that plot seem to feel that is the “only” way to write a story. Yes, that is in sarcastic air quotes. Those that believe so strongly in plotting believe it is the fastest way to reach an end result.

That could well be true. It achieves an end result in the shortest period of time, but is it the best result? If you religiously stick to a plot outline, have you allowed your characters to become real? I’ve read books with cardboard characters merely following the outline the author set out for them.

It is possible that those rigid plot advocates missed the point. What if pantsing is a form of outlining using character interactions to figure out how people would react together and what the story is about?

So for today’s prompt, write a scene or story between two or more characters. Allow them to set direction your story takes. Think carefully about the logical outcome for any discussion or action. At the end, write out what you think the story is about. Use that to go back and flesh out the story, changing scenes, enhancing conflicts and adding any necessary depth. Are there areas that don’t make sense? Conversations that need to change? Did you wind up with a plot using this method?

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