Monday, June 3, 2013

When it Comes to Non-Fiction, I'm a "Plotter"

I wrote a post last year about the “pantser” vs. “plotter” approach to writing, but it came up again when I had author Adam Ortyl on my podcast (in an episode which will air later this month). In my post last year I decided that I was a “signposter”--someone who starts with a basic idea, and then plants some signs along the road of their story, just to make sure they're still headed to my intended destination, even though they get off the highway several times along the way.

But I learned something about myself the past couple of months, as I wrote a how-to book about podcasting--when it comes to non-fiction, I am most definitely a plotter.

I outlined my entire book before I even began, and although I moved some of the chapters around, I pretty much stuck with that outline the whole way through. The biggest difference for me was that when it came to the subject of podcasting, I knew exactly what I wanted to cover, and I outlined the book to make sure I didn’t forget anything.

So for me, when it comes to fiction, I like to let the characters help decide the direction of the story within some general parameters (signposting). But for non-fiction, I want to plot, as there is clearly defined material I want to make sure and cover.

You can hear Adam and I talk about our "pantser" approach to fiction writing later this month in the third episode of See Brian Write.