Outlining or ‘pantsing’ – which is better? – Discussion #5

This is an interesting question to ask. Some writers I know dedicate themselves to a very detailed “chapter plan” on Excel or Word and plan out everything about the book. But is this just too detailed, and too unnecessary?

The Advantages/Disadvantages of Outlining:

The advantages of course is that you know where you’re going all the time, and that many writers use it. I remember someone saying that writing without an outline is like “driving without the brakes on”. However, the disadvantage is “plot holes” – using my Excel idea as an example, you end up getting blank spaces in the plot, and you have to think hard to fill those spaces. And this plot holes, once filled, could make the chapter boring, or even the whole book boring…

The Advantages/Disadvantages of “Pantsing”:

The main disadvantage of not planning is the idea that you could end up writing FOREVER. But I can offer a view on this that I am doing this for my current book. It is very helpful. There’s some point where my writing reaches a halt. Rather than get a “plot hole” on an outline plan, I can think about it, and I’m able to continue writing. So far it’s going great!

But what do you think/prefer? Comment below!



12 thoughts on “Outlining or ‘pantsing’ – which is better? – Discussion #5

  1. I like both and I’ve had some success with both. I guess it just depends on what I want the end result to be. Nano gives me the freedom to let the story take over and for the characters to work out when and where they want to go, sometimes it is better than a planned novel. 🙂


  2. When I was writing my memoir, I just wrote and wrote in the beginning stages. When I felt like I had enough scenes to start to connect them, then I worked on organizing everything and went back and filled in the gaps.

    If I were to write fiction, I’m not sure what I would do. I would probably take the same approach–just write off the top of my head for a while, then try to fit that writing into some kind of structure.


  3. I think you and I had this discussion once. 😉 I am a pantser. I’ve tried outlining but end up totally different. My characters tend to take over and off they go! It works for me so far.


  4. Now that I think about it I’m probably a planning pantser. I don’t go to the extent of drawing up a detailed chapter-by-chapter plan of the story. That sounds like too hard work and a waste of time to me. The history of all my (unfinished) novels and short stories is that I’ve started with a problem, throw in some characters, this is how it ends and here’s how they get there. Very brief. From then on it’s pantsing all the way, generally following the rough guide of the plan. Seems to work. Then again, as I said, many are not finished! 😉


    • Ah I see… Interesting. It’s very interesting when it comes to both methods. Both provide an element of freedom, but outlining creates a plan. It’s whether you like that or like the way the characters take it which determines which method you like.


  5. Pantsing. Definitely pantsing. Oh…we’re talking about writing? Yeah, pantsing still. Outlining is for organized people who may have normal minds. I can’t function that way. I go wherever the characters go. I may have a little idea, but I don’t write any outlines. It gets to boring for me if I do. Great post.


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