P versus P

Dear Readers:

Have you ever been mystified by authors who claim surprise at the flow of their story, the twists and turns of their developing plot, hinting that their characters are in charge and writing the story for them? Or better yet, these imaginary beings begin telling the author, through dialogue, what’s going on?  I confess, even before my writing education started, I was a skeptic. Isn’t this all coming from the writer’s head? Seems like a cop-out and it sure makes this writing business sound a whole lot easier if someone else is coming up with the ideas. At our second class session, Connie, the referee, explained. There are two distinct schools of thought on this subject. The Plotters, in one corner of the arena, are in complete control of the characters, where they roam and how they react. Warming up in the other corner are the Pantzers (they write by the seat of their pants) who are totally surprised by what happens and emphatically argue they get bored with their story if they know what was going to happen before writing the scene. I came out swinging, having decided I am definitely a Plotter. With a background in Clinical Laboratory Science, I’ve always loved outlines, checklists, maps of how to get from here to there.  Post It Notes are my friend. Bullet points delight me. So that left me stuck with trying to figure out the Eight Point Plotting Structure. The plot thickens.

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