In Defense of Plotters – Scene Design

At this point, I’m about 1/3 of the way through fleshing out my scenes, and I felt the need to have a throw-down in defense of all the plotters out there (vs pantsers).

Opponents of plotting cite the following reason as the biggest reason not to plot:

Plotting takes away the ability to be spontaneous.

Or does it?

I’ve plotted out around 20 scenes at this point, and I have to say I’ve learned some pretty new things in the process.

  1. A character I thought I was cutting needs to come back… He is going to serve a really critical role now, and helps make one of the main characters far more richer and interesting.
  2. The majority of my story takes place within a single kingdom… But there is a character from another kingdom traveling along.  Her home kingdom now has an interesting superstition and cultural trend for young girls that I had no idea would have existed.
  3. A scene I had originally imagined inside a room suddenly finds itself set on a platform over water.

When plotting, I’m presented with puzzles to make the scene fresh, exciting, and compelling.  I want my readers to be drawn in, and that means creating threads that I can plan where and how they weave into the story.  However, some of those threads won’t be easy to tie in… In those cases, I get just as creative as any pantser, and all sorts of interesting things come out.

Plotting doesn’t destroy the capacity for creative input and spontaneity… It just ensures that as you find those things, you are going to have the benefit of not throwing away piles of words that no longer work because you’ve written yourself into a corner, or because a scene was so tangential to the story that it ends up being filler or a waste of time.

Let me know if you are plotter or pantser… If you plot, what’s been your experience with characters and events taking you unexpected places?

Novel Word Count: 14696

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