The age old debate of planning v pantsing has resurfaced, like the proverbial chicken and egg. Unlike the chicken, though, the planning v pantsing argument will never be settled, except by caveat. (It was the egg, if you were curious.)
That’s because the creature that laid the egg was not quite a chicken…
That’s because the only right answer is ‘whatever you prefer’.
Personally, I’m a pantser with a caveat. I may sketch out a few details – usually what happens to whom, why, and what is the result – and then I just go for it. Scribbled notes in a journal, lines of dialogue on a receipt, sides and sides of description. I might have half the story scattered around. And then I stop, collect it all together and start again.
Planning and pantsing aren’t that different, as far as I can tell. It’s just that pantsers do their planning in joined-up sentences. The secret of successful pantsing is knowing when you need to start again, just like the secret to successful planning is knowing when to stop fiddling and start writing.
Unsuccessful planners will get stuck in the same place as unsuccessful pantsers; at the start. At the point where they need to go back to the beginning and make a serious attempt, they don’t. One sits there with a sheaf of notes, one with a half-finished manuscript. Neither will get to the end unless they bite the bullet and start.
So plan or pants, whichever you like. Just remember that that’s only the start.