NaNoWriMo: Plotting vs Pantsing (and everything in between)

 What is Plotting and Pantsing?

If you’re a NaNoWriMo-er you’re probably pretty familiar with these terms, but if not, I’ll break it down for you.

Plotting and Pantsing refer to how much you prepare before you begin to write. A plotter is someone who plots everything that’s going to happen, so they know exactly where their story is going. A pantser is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, so a writer who perhaps knows the general gist of the story they want to tell, and just starts writing.


Where do I lie

This is kind of a complicated question, so let’s look back over my past NaNo’s shall we?


NaNoWriMo 2014

This was my first attempt and I failed miserably. I did not plot a single thing… until I stared writing and then I decided to plot everything out. I might have hit 4,000 words, if I include that plotting in my word count. This was the year I learnt how to plot.

NaNoWriMo 2015

My second attempt was plotted pretty tightly, chapter-by-chapter, and I felt pretty happy when I reached 28,000 words by December (all story, no planning). Obviously, it would have been nice to win, but I did way better that the year before and that felt like a win to me.

NaNoWriMo 2016

Finally my first win! Did I plot? Nope. I had a vague idea of where this whole thing was going in each chapter, but by the second day I knew this story was not the right fit for me. But, I wasn’t going to give up and ended up writing the remaining 48,000 using writing prompts.

NaNoWriMo 2017

I know it’s a bit early to be announcing my plans for November, but right now, I’ll be using… writing prompts to plan my story. What I mean by this, is that I will divide the plot into however many chapters I find to be symbolically important (just typically me) and divide the chapter number by the word count (10 chapters = 5,000 words per chapter). Then each chapter will have a setting, a POV, and a prompt, for example one of my prompts for a story I’m playing with at the moment goes like this;

“Initial capture and interrogation”

And that’s all from me on this subject at the moment. Even though my planning has reduced significantly I do still see myself as a planner, it’s just a different sort of planning. I like to have prompts, playlists, pintrests that sort of thing.


What about you?

Are you a plotter, a pantser or somewhere in between? How much time do you dedicate to planning? How in-depth is your planning?

Or, if you’re a complete pantser, what is the most important part of the writing process for you? How do you keep track of where your story is supposed to be going vs where it’s going right now?


Leave your answers down in the comments!


Thanks for reading!


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