Monday, April 30, 2012

Egypt: Plotters or Pantsers?

                                      Ageeba Beach, Marsa Matrouh, Egypt

The rock and the sea.

There are two kinds of writers when it comes to getting a first draft down: those who outline every detail, the plotters, and those fly by the seat of their pants, the pantsers. (I don't really know if that's the origin of the word.) I’m a plotter. In fact I'm such a planner-aheader that if my novel takes a left turn somewhere in the middle (usually due to a new idea), my writing comes to a dead halt while I re-outline the whole thing. Yup, I’m a control freak.

Since living in Egypt, I’ve noticed the Egyptians live their lives as ‘pantsers.' They rarely worry about tomorrow, satisfied that if a problem presents itself, they’ll take care of it when it happens. They believe the only true ‘plotter’ is Allah, and they should let him decide on the course of their lives. They’re also very aware that no one is perfect, so they don’t worry about making mistakes or feel guilty when they do.

This way of thinking leads to a non-stressful existence, and this is the reason most of the foreigners I know appreciate living here -- that and the gorgeous sun, sand, and sea I've pic-ed above.

Once, I tried to write a novel without outlining and ended up with a confused, unworkable mess. (Won’t do that again!) But I really enjoy the easy pace of life here, where no one worries too much or stresses-out about tomorrow. In a world where you don’t really know what the future may hold, it doesn’t pay to over-plan. Life isn’t a novel, and a relaxing environment is priceless.


Kate Larkindale said...

I'm a pantser. I've tried outlining and planning in advance, and I get bored. So for now, I'm going to embrace my pantser-ness and go forth with nothing but an idea and a whole lot of love for my subject matter.

dave nelson said...

I wear my pants low like the kids these days.

I plot, but then I give myself permission to go in a different direction without freaking out.

You are right about that sun. I'd like to be writing in that hammock.


Annie McMahon said...

I'm a little bit of both. I start with a basic plot, but I don't plan every detail before I start writing. Nice blog, by the way! I'll be back! And I LOVE the pic you chose with the purple sunset. Makes me want to be there!

Breanna Teintze said...

Pantser! Well, until I get stuck, and can't figure out what's going to happen. Then I plot. :)

Cheree Smith said...

I'm a bit of both. Sometimes I can be a pantser, other times the character is too stubborn that I have to make a detailed outline for them, but then they choose a different path to follow afterwards.

Anonymous said...

I'm like you... a massive plotter... I need to know everything before i write... I leave the small details but the big details I have to know:)

Emailman said...

I'm a total pantser :) It's much more exciting that way. I would get bored writing a story if I knew exactly what was going to happen. Being a pantser is just like reading a book, you get to discover things as you're writing it :) Sometimes even I as the author go, "Wow!"

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