Do you guys plan your NaNo novels, or ‘pants’ them? (As in, work from a detailed outline, or fly by the seat of your pants.) There are definite benefits and detractions from each practice.
Pantsers may find themselves stuck halfway through the month with no idea where to go next. At the same time, planners run the risk of over-plotting their story — micromanage too much and you lose the excitement of writing and get burnt out!
Planners might emerge from their writing caves on December 1st with a more structured story than pantsers, but the pantsers’ unrestricted spontaneity might’ve uncovered some absolute gems in their writing that the planners never strayed far enough from the path to find. So, which is it? Do you plan, or do you open your laptop November 1st and see what happens?
Or is the key a healthy median? My advice is for anyone, pantser or plotter, to write something down before November 1st. Whether a quick jot of ideas or a detailed chapter-by-chapter rundown, establish some idea, however vague, of where you’re headed this month. Then (and I say this particularly to you fellow micromanaging planners), put it away! Enjoy the spontaneity of the pantser in the moment, and if you get stuck, lose motivation, bring out the planner’s road map and check where to go next.
Some more posts on planning and pantsing:
Pantser? Planner? Percolator? @ the NaNoWriMo official blog
Novel Planning For Pantsers @ The Struggling Writer
From Story Pantser to Story Planner @ Storyfix
Pantser? Planner? Prep? @ the NaNoWriMo official forums
Become my writing buddy! Friend me on NaNoWriMo.com!