A to Z Challenge: Planners vs. Pantsers

This post is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year my theme is simply, "things I know." Some posts will be informational, some about life lessons, some about things I've learned as an author/blogger.

A fun debate that comes up from time to time in the writing/blogging/NaNo world is whether it is better to be a Planner or a Pantser

A Planner is a writer who lays everything out, knows just where the story and characters are going, has done all the research in advance before they even start to write. For those of you Meyers-Briggs fans, Planners are J's. A Pantser is someone who 'flies by the seat of their pants' while writing. They maybe have a first line, or a basic plot they're thinking of, but in the end they're just going wherever the story takes them. Pantsers are P's on the MBTI. There was a great blog article over at NaNoWriMo a couple years ago that had 280 comments of people debating and sharing their preference. Good stuff.

So after yesterday's post on being organized, you're all probably thinking I'm a total Planner. Nope! While I am organized in every other part of my life and am a total J on the MBTI, I actually write better when I go wherever the story takes me. When I plan too hard the writing starts to feel like homework. And remember back in school when you'd do anything to not do homework? Yeah, me too. For me the writing is better when it's a process of discovery, and I just don't get the same rush when I'm outlining and planning ahead. This was a very good thing to discover, and why it falls into my theme of "things I know" - I've killed a couple good stories by overplanning them. Lost my steam, the thrill of discovery. I know that I write better when letting the story write itself.

I'm about halfway through Steven King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (which I highly recommend, btw), and it turns out he feels similarly. He starts with an idea for a situation and then just sticks a couple people into it and sees what happens.

How about y'all? Are you Pantsers, or Planners?