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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Plotters Exposed

For the next two days, I'll be concluding the analysis of my Plotting and Personality Survey. First up are those pesky Plotters. (I can say that, since this is the blog of a Pantster.) :)

I was very pleased with the Plotter results, mainly because for each dichotomy presented in the first Plotter-specific question, I got very near 100%, meaning that most responders chose one or the other for questions 1-4.

1a. You are a list maker (groceries, to-do, etc)

1b. You are NOT a list maker

2a. You have a set/defined writing time and/or stick to it

2b. You do NOT have a set/defined writing time and/or don't stick to it

3a. You keep a calendar/schedule for work or home

3b. You do NOT keep a calendar/schedule for work or home

4a. You plot your entire story from start to finish before starting to write

4b. You do NOT plot your entire story from start to finish before starting to write


Of interest to note is that Plotters are organized in their every day lived (88% are list makers and 62% keep a calendar), but this statistic is not that much greater than the Pantsters, which did surprise me (but we'll get to them tomorrow). Not surprising is that most Plotters don't have a set writing time...I think writers in general do it when they aren't working their day job, or when the baby is sleeping, etc.

But check out question 4. It was nearly a 50/50 split. 45% of Plotters plot the whole way through and 54% don't. To me, the bottom line is that actually very few writers are die-hard Plotters.

Let's look at the rest of the survey results. None of these questions ironed out as close to 100% as questions 1-4, but they came fairly close.

5a. You have always been a plotter.

5b. You began plotting after reading books like Story Engineering, Story, etc.

5c. You are a Pantster masking as a Plotter because you feel this is the superior way.

6a. Plotting comes very easy for you.

6b. Plotting is difficult for you, but you plow through it anyway.

7a. You only work on one story at a time.

7b. You have several stories that you work on at once.


Okay, 5c just cracks me up. I didn't actually think anyone would select that, because that's what I was doing for so long and I thought it would be funny. But 6% of you feel the same way! That's worth exploring in a Pantster support group. Should I get one started?

And look at question 6. Plotting comes difficult for almost 50% of Plotters. We Pantsters have thrown in the towel, but 46% of Plotters plow through the difficulty. Perhaps I need to start support groups for both groups. That's a pretty substantial percentage!

Question 7 I asked of both groups just because I'm curious. I find that I do my best work when I'm not saddled to one project, and thought I'd throw it out to my writing friends to see what you think. Almost a 60/40 split in favor of working on a single project....but that's way less of a margin that I thought it'd be. I thought Plotters would be t-totallers and have to write The End before starting on something else percolating. Guess I was wrong, but then, what else are surveys for?

Stay tuned for tomorrow when Pantsters are revealed. There will be quite a bit more discussion and general analysis of both types. (P.S. Thursday is also my birthday!!)

Q4U: How does this ring true with you Plotters out there? Did anything surprise you?


Sarah Forgrave said...

Very interesting, Jeannie! And I agree that the time one surprised me too. I expected plotters to be more particular about a specific writing time.

Kathrine Roid said...

*runs over the list thinking how she would have responded if she had discovered this place in time*

Something in the back of my head says maybe being a person who likes to organize has little to do with whether you're a panster or plotter... well, can't wait to see the rest of your analysis!

Miss Sharp said...

"until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
whether this one was that one... or that one was this one
or which one was what one... or what one was who."

(Jeannie - your middle name isn't McBean, right?!)

Jessica Nelson said...

This is so funny! You know us pantsers only make lists because otherwise we forget what we need. Plotters do it because it makes them feel good and secure. lol

PatriciaW said...

Interesting analysis, Jeannie. I'm surprised more plotters don't keep to a single project, but then, having the project plotted out allows a freedom to go away and do other things and be able to come back and pick up where one left off. I'm guessing that's how it works. I'm more of a single threader.

Keli Gwyn said...

It's fun to see the follow-up to your survey, Jeannie. Since I'm a plotster (plotter with pantster leanings), it makes sense to me that even die-hard plotters don't figure out everything before they write. In fact I'm glad they don't. To me that would take some of the fun out of the process.

H. Renee said...

Happy Birthday! :) This is an fun (and revealing!) survey so far!

Sarah Sundin said...

This series is so fascinating! As for #5, I'm a plotter BECAUSE plotting is so difficult for me. I love characters, and the characters and the romance come instantly to me. But the plot? Oh vey. That's where snowflaking and the hero's journey come in so handy and guide me through.

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