A planner is exactly the way it sounds. It’s a writer that plans things usually before the actual writing process starts. They outline the story whether it’s a one sentence description or a whole page on what will happen in each chapter. They do character outlines, and they have a clear depiction of what’s going to happen in the beginning, the middle, and the end of their novel.
So which is better?
There is no real answer to that. Different things work for different people. Sure one way can be a lot more strenuous than the other, but in the end they all come to the same conclusion—a completed book. The road to getting there is the hard part.
Both ways have pros and cons. A con to being a panster would be that it could get you into some sticky situations such as not knowing the key points of your novel and getting stuck. A con to being a planner is knowing too much about your novel and getting bored with it.
As for me, I do a little bit of both. I know where the story’s headed but I leave out enough room to maneuver. I like to be surprised as well, but not so much that I’d end up re-writing the whole thing twice just to get the story’s plot right.
My overall thoughts on pansting/planning:
I think it’s a good idea to know where your story’s going before you start. Sometimes if you go into it without some kind of guide, whether it’s a detailed outline or a short synopsis, you can either end up getting stuck or spending a lot more time writing it than you normally would have. Outlines are only as detailed as you make them so don’t be afraid to use them. I used to because I thought they’d only lead me to a dreaded dead end trap but now I’m okay with it. It just takes some getting used to.
***Question of the day:
What are your thoughts on pansting? Are you a planner/panster yourself?