Plotters vs. Pantsers

Photo by Min An on

There are two general types of writers: plotters and pantsers. Of course, all writers are different, but these are the more common categories for writers.


Plotters are the writers who plan their entire novel or story out. Most of the time, they try to understand and come up with all of the small details of their story before starting to write. They use outlines while writing, and often have a very straightforward idea of where they want their story to go and how they want their characters to change.

This can be incredibly beneficial—it’ll be less stressful while writing, and the editing process will (most likely) be quicker and easier. But, there are downsides. This writing process can allow little room for flexibility while writing; if you want to change a chapter, scene, or character, you might have to change others. Some people argue that it also limits the amount of creativity a writer has while writing.


A direct contrast from plotters, pantsers typically come up with their story while writing. They let their characters direct the stories, so to speak. Some pantsers do write a synopsis or a few key scene ideas (these half-and-half writers are called “plantsers”).

This writing process can also be useful. One of the most beneficial aspects of this can be the flexibility and freedom writers have while not planning out an entire novel. The other side of this is that it’s much easier to get writer’s block without using a strict outline, and the story can also end up as choppy or not as thought-out.

Overall, both types of writers have pros and cons to their writing style. Also, each writer is unique—everyone can be a mix of a plotter and pantser.

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