When writers friends meet, one issue always comes up—planning your writing.
There are two main factions that clash over the which approach is best:
1. Freestylers, who never plan anything and put down on paper whatever pops into their heads (also called “pantsers,” because they “fly by the seat of their pants,” and
2. Obsessed Excel addicts, who need a detailed plan to work from.
There’s actually a fair bit of middle ground between these extremes, but when writers start talking about plotting, we tend to form into these two teams and then do battle. Is planning a story necessary or obsolete? Is it helpful or does it kill your creativity?
Let’s try to put emotions aside and analyze the facts instead of laughing condescendingly at each other and casting angry glances. To plan or not to plan? Have a look at the table below.
So, what should you do? Develop a plan or go with the flow? Only you know the answer that suits you. You have to find your own optimal spot on the scale between extremes—the one that’s comfortable for your way of working.
If you want to try the planning approach, you can find an Excel spreadsheet for novels here—it’s not even very complicated!
Whatever you decide, I hope this comparison helps you determine how much planning you need for your project. And if you have any doubts, feel free to drop me a line!