Friday, October 19, 2007

What kind of writer are you???

After years of struggling with the way that I write, I've come to realize that all writers fall into one of 4 writing profile categories. Understanding which type of writer you are can help you write more efficiently.

Linear Writer
This is the type that I always admired. A linear writer writes an outline, starts at the beginning of the story on page one and writes chapter by chapter. After each chapter, she revises, gets the chapter in good shape before moving on to the next chapter. When shes done with the book, all she has to do is a read through to tweak words here and there and shes done.

The Plotter
The plotter is someone who loves to immerse themselves in every detail of the story. They will spent long hours getting to know their characters. They fill in long character charts that tell them everything from the hero and heroines favorite color to what they had for breakfast that morning. This is all before theyve written a word of the manuscript. Plotters love to find out everything they can about the story before they write.

The Pantser
The pantser is the writer who sits down at the computer and doesnt know where her story is going to take her. This is very exciting as some writers like to discover their characters the same way the reader does. Some writers feel stifled by outlines and lose interest in a story if they know too much about it. Unfortunately, if the writer doesnt know where shes going with story, she may spend a lot of time wandering about on the page while she tries to find the story.

The Puzzler
Like the name implies, the puzzler writes their story like a puzzle, writing scenes out of order and then piecing them together to make the story whole. Puzzlers usually see scenes of the story very vividly and feel the need to write them down before they lose them. They see the beginning, the end and some of the scenes in the middle. How those scenes transition from one scene to the next is another story. Thats for them to piece together.

Although writers might favor one type of writing profile, most writers are really a combination of two of the above types. Knowing how you write can help you choose the best way to organize your writing and write more efficiently.

2007 Lisa Mondello


Pam Hillman said...

Goodness, Lisa, I think I'm all of the above. I'll get back with you in a few years and let you know if I discover differently!

Anonymous said...

Pure pantser. I hate it, but there it is. I have tried medication for this but alas, it doesn't help.

PamelaTracy said...

I'm a sure pantser, too. Tina, what medication did you try? I've tried myself to a piece of paper and forced an outline, but it caused a nervous breakdown.

Lisa Mondello said...

I sympathize with you pantsers if you'll do the same for me as a puzzler. I really wish I could be a linear writer. It seems so much easier that way. Start at the beginning and then keep going until you type The End. But I see my entire story out of order in little snippets and then I piece them together. It's not uncommon for me to have a beginning and ending written and nothing in between. I then write highpoint scenes and then put them together like a puzzle, using transition scense etc. Hey, it's worked for 16 manuscripts, even though it drives me crazy.

I have found several different ways of working around my crazy style of writing. I introduced them at the workshop I did at Nationals and at NEC. What I've found is it's not so much the tools we use to help organize our writing, but how we use that tool. I think I've just thought of my blog for next Friday. I'm going to write on how each type uses tools to organize their writing!

Many blessings,

Cara Putman said...

Hmmm. I'm linear for Heartsongs and a plotter for suspense. I want to know where the plot is headed and something about my characters, but don't move into hyper :-)

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Lisa,
Sorry I didn't get a chance to drop by last Friday. I was out of town all day.

Loved your blog! I'm a mix. I start with an outline, then do a first draft on my Alpha, typing straight through. (Does that make me linear?) Then I go back and rework the pages about a million times, moving scenes around until it all fits. As you mentioned in your own case, it works.

Looking forward to next Friday's blog!

Terri Reed said...

I'm definetly a combonation of the plotter, the linear and the puzzler with some pantser thrown in. I do a lot of plotting then, fill in scene charts and play with those and the when I start the writing, I have a linear line I follow of the scene charts, but I allow the characters to take me to different places but I always bring them back into line to keep the story on track.