Pros and Cons of Being a Plotter

In case you haven’t heard the term, a plotter is someone who plots out his story before he writes it. He may have a detailed outline, explaining every scene. He might only have a few notes jotted down for each chapter. Or he could have the beginning, middle, and end planned out. He may even research certain elements he imagines having in his novel. The point is that he’s thought about his story in advance and isn’t just going with the flow or figuring it out as he goes along.

But, like everything else in life, there are pros and cons to this method. Let’s take a look to see if you feel this would work for you.


-Since the story is already planned out, you don’t have to think about what will happen next. You can simply refer to your outline and write the scene.
-It’ll be easier for you to spot plot holes or underdeveloped characters before you get lost in the story and blinded by your love for it.
-You can ensure the characters’ GMCs (goals, motivations, and conflicts) are clear throughout the novel.
-Because you know what will happen next, you’ll have less of a chance of experiencing writer’s block.
-If you go as far as creating a character sheet, you should be able to keep your characters consistent. For example, a character who has blue eyes on page three shouldn’t have green eyes on page twenty. You’ll have all the character details in front of you and won’t have to rely on your memory.
-You can use the outline to help you create your synopsis, if you need one.
-You shouldn’t find yourself writing scenes and chapters only to delete them later, because they no longer fit with the story. You’ll before you write the novel what will and won’t fit.
-Because you have an outline, you won’t lose sight of the original story. You’ll stay on track and not go somewhere unrelated to the story itself.


-You may spend too much time plotting the story, when you could’ve been writing it.
-You might research something to death, maybe even becoming an expert on the subject, only to decide you won’t include it in the novel.
-You may get distracted by all the research.
-You may enjoy thinking about and plotting your story more than actually writing it. (Meaning: You may lose the passion for the story because you already know how it’ll turn out.)
-You may feel like you have to stick to the outline, when it really shouldn’t be set in stone.
-You might lose the love for writing and creating, because the story has already been envisioned to a certain extent.

While many writers are a combination of plotter and pantser (we’ll talk about pantsers next week), they tend to lean more one way or the other. However, there is no right way to write, only what’s right for you.

Can you add to the pros and cons list? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lynnette Labelle

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