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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pantsters Exposed

First of all, wish this Pantster a happy birthday! I'm celebrating by going to work as usual, so your comments will certainly brighten my day.

If you missed my post yesterday on Plotters, click here. I think you'll be surprised at how similar writing habits actually are between the two. Below is the breakdown for Pantsters:

Once again, I got very close percentages to 100 for each dichotomy presented in questions 1-4.

1a. You are not a list maker (groceries, to-do, etc)

21%
1b. You ARE a list maker

76%
2a. You do not have a set/defined writing time and/or stick to it

77%
2b. You DO have a set/defined writing time and/or stick to it

16%
3a. You do not keep a calendar/schedule for work or home

34%
3b. You DO keep a calendar/schedule for work or home

61%
4a. You pant through your entire story; to do else wise would give you hives.

37%
4b. You do NOT pant through your entire story; that's for crazy people.

50%

Interesting to note how similar the lifestyle patterns are for Pantsters and Plotters. 88% of Plotters kept lists and 76% of Pantsters do the same. 19% of Plotters had a set time to write, and 16% of Pantsters do. For whatever reason, my stereotype of Plotters was that much more of them would have a set time to write since they are so much more rigorous in plotting out their story. (Does that even make sense?) Almost the exact same percentage of Pantsters keeps a calendar, just like Plotters.

So my overall conclusions are that writers are just a conscientious bunch of people in general. I believe this has something to do with how much of our life is consumed with writing, so we have to be very careful to budget our time, regardless of whether we plot or pant. At least, this is my educated guess.

Question 4 was interesting. Only 87% answered it one way or the other, so I don't know about the other 13%, but 37% go for broke and pant the entire way through their story. Only 45% of Plotters plot their way through the entire story...not that far from each other. So these are the folks that make up the far right and far left of the writing bell curve.

On to the more random questions...

5. You have always been a pantster.

62%
6. You bought plotting books, but had nervous breakdowns before finishing them.

43%
7. Your first draft is your outline. You then do extensive editing/cutting/starting over.

50%
8. Your efforts to plot fall flat and stifle your creativity.

49%
9a. You have several stories that you work on at once.

62%
9b. You only work on one story at a time.

36%

Seriously? 43% of us have suffered trying to read Story Engineering or Story or Save the Cat or The Story Within or How to Find your Story...and nearly had nervous breakdowns? If that's not a call for a support group, I don't know what is! Well, that, and the fact that one-half of us take our story when it's finished and basically rewrite it. Whew.

49% agreed that plotting stifled their creativity, and it seems that Pantsters are more open-minded in general about how many projects we take on. The statistics were almost exactly opposite for Pantsters and Plotters with this last question. While 36% of Pantsters only work on one story at a time, 39% of Plotters work on more than one story at a time. That's fascinating, writer friends!

Q4U: Pantsters, how does this float your boat? Should we rally for a support group? I think the ACFW conference workshop got us off to a great start....

11 comments:

Sarah Forgrave said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! (I'll avoid singing so I don't scare your other visitors away.) :)

I loved seeing the stats on your survey! Very interesting. Now it'd be interesting to see how many plotters are actually plot first-ers or if any of them are character first-ers. :)

Miss Sharp said...

Joyeux Anniversaire à vous mon cher ami!

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Deanna Schrayer said...

Happy birthday Jeannie! And thanks so much for all the time you put into this fascinating survey. I'm as surprised as you are about many of the results.
I'm one the half-and-half folks - I pants it until I get stuck and have to force myself to plot it. :)

GigglesandGuns said...

Hope you have your best birthday ever and many blessings in the future.

This was a fascinating survey. We are so alike yet all so different.

I make plans and lists but seldom do they work out for me.

Keli Gwyn said...

Happy birthday, Jeannie! I hope you have a wonderful day.

Thanks for your enlightening survey and the breakdown of the results.

Jessica Nelson said...

Happy Birthday, girlie!!! :-) Surprising stats here. I thought my aversion to writing books was due to pantser tendencies, but apparently it's just me. lol

Shilpa said...

Happy birthday! I liked your conclusion about writers! :D

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Writers are more alike than they are different.

Writers make awesome friends. (if you are another writer.)

Writers have birthdays too.

Happy Birthday Dear Jeannie, happy birthday to you.

Jennifer K. Hale said...

So happy I'm a pantser. And I'm all about a support group.

I'm hacking my way through my WIP just SO I can begin the editing and rewrites. Weird??? I think not. :)

Melissa Sugar said...

I enjoyed reading the results of your survey. Happy Belated birthday. I shall never forget your birthday, you share it with my ten year old.

I make list because I really want to be a more organized writer (and organized in general),but I never seem to follow through. I dread outlining. The times I have tried, I become so frustrated and I lose my motivation and passion for writing. I can write a first draft without losing motivation and it serves well as a sort of outline for my revisions.

I lost my blog and all the content because I neglected to renew my domain name after a long hiatus from blogging to finish my novel. So, I have started all over by adding .blogspot to it . I am happy to be following you again. I love your blog.

I hope you had a great birthday.
Melissa

Jennifer said...

Happy (belated) Birthday!

My name is Jennifer, and I am a pantser. I didn't take the survey, but I agree with the pantsers' responses (and the comments).

I've been trying to work in a little more plot analysis and organization and it has kind of backfired. I became overwhelmed and discouraged. Now, I'm trying out a much more flexible approach to plotting my next novel. I think I will always tend to write my first draft, see where it takes me, and let that serve as my "outline" for the final draft, though.

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.