Stick two writers in a room and sometime after the "Why are we stuck in this room?" and "What genre do you write?" one will ask the other, "Are you a pantser or a plotter?"
This question is, in writer terms, the equilvalent of "What sign are you?" Pantsers write by the seat of their pants (hence the term, "pantsers"). They fly bravely into the wild blue yonder of creativity never doubting that the plane of their story will land safely at the prescribed destination. God, bless them. They probably bungee jump, too.
Not me. I am a plotter. None of that off-the-cuff stuff for me. I go off on writing tangents that last longer than an ice age. And...it's really baaaad stuff. Drivel. My characters have no direction and my plot becomes so convoluted that Dan Brown can't deciper it.
I need an outline.
Plotters nod their heads. They understand my need to put something down on paper before I, er...put something down on paper. It's a comfort thing like my kid and her favorite stuffed animal. It gives you something to hold onto, something to sleep on, and something to remind yourself that you really are a writer--you have a plot to prove it!
Of course, it doesn't prove anything because characters hijack plots all the time. Stories are fluid. They change. Chances are that only the basic framework or premise of my story will remain the same and when I look at my original outline I'll laugh myself silly.
And the pantsers will laugh right along with me.
So what's your process?
Thanks to Mac(3) on Flickr for the kewl "?"