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  • Writer's pictureDonna Carbone

Plotter or Panster or Something In-between? Episode 008

Authors Talking Bookish with hosts Hope Gibbs and Donna Norman-Carbone

Have you heard the terms plotter and panster? What about a planster? They refer to the level or lack thereof of planning that goes into storytelling before the story is told. We’ll talk about the characteristics and benefits of each, so that you may determine your organizational style in your approach to writing a novel.


Plotter- someone who outlines their work fully before any writing takes place

Panster- someone who starts with an idea and begins writing without a plan

Planster- a combination of the two: generally one who creates a broad outline, then allows the story to take them where they need to go

What are the benefits and drawbacks to each?

Types of Outlines:

  • Timeline

  • Chapter by Chapter

  • Acts (3-5 acts)

  • Character Arcs

  • Character Bios

How do you know which you are? Are you right brained or left brained?


“Pantser or Plotter? Deciding Which Can Save Your Writing Life” Jane Friedman Blog

“Outlining a Novel for Plotters, Pansters, and Puzzlers Alike,” Lewis Jorstad, Launch Pad: Countdown to Writing Your Book, ED. Emma Dhesi and Grace Sammon

Save the Cat: Writes a Novel,Jessica Brody

“Writing Quiz: Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?” Kate Sullivan

DO NOW: Take the quiz. Experiment. You won’t find your groove until you try both methods and somewhere in-between to figure out where you lean. Do what works for you!

Hope Gibbs, author of Where the Grass Grows Blue

Donna Norman-Carbone, author of All That is Sacred

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