Memoir Tip #116: Writing Style

What is your writing style? Do you like to plan out every detail in advance or let the story unfold naturally? In fiction writing there are three styles of writers, the planner, the pantser and the hybrid. Let’s take a look at each.

Planner – creating a plan before sitting down to write

The planner can range from having a high level plan, knowing the main goal and obstacle as well as each chapter goal and obstacle, or they may create a plan down to the smallest of details. This way of writing generally requires less revision, but can also miss the opportunity for spontaneity and unexpected twists that add depth or tension. So in the planning process let your mind wander a little to find those unexpected moments.

Pantser – starts writing without a plan

The pantser dives right into a story without a plan. They write one sentence and then another, letting the story lead them where it may. This way of writing is great for finding those unexpected side stories that add tension and depth, but it can also lead you down rabbit holes that take you off track, thus leading to a heavier revision process. If this is your style be prepared to put in extra time revising and weeding out unnecessary information.

Hybrid – creates a general plan that allows for unexpected moments

The planner often ends up in this category, especially if they fall on the lighter end of the planning process. This method starts with a general plan in mind, the main goal and obstacle determined and possibly some of the key turning points, but then allows space and openings for unexpected moments and memories to show up during the writing process. This style generally requires less revision than a pantser, but more than a true planner. Like the pantser, you will need to cut unnecessary information and have a little extra time for revising. 

Ultimately there is no right or wrong writing style and all that matters is the style that works for you. If you haven’t already figured out your style I recommend trying them all out until you find the right one. Your readers don’t care about your writing style, they only care about how intriguing they find the finished story.

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